Monday, February 18, 2013

A Brief History of 'President's Day'

President's Day originally began as an unofficial day of remembrance for George Washington after his death 1799. His birthday of February 22nd marked the day.
"At the time, Washington was venerated as the most important figure in American history, and events like the 1832 centennial of his birth and the start of construction of the Washington Monument in 1848 were cause for national celebration."
In recognition of state's rights and citizen autonomy, Washington's birthday was not a federal holiday until Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes(R) signed it into law in 1879 - and even then it only applied to the District of Columbia.

In 1885, Pres. Chester Arthur(W-R) signed the bill that made Washington's birthday a federal holiday for all 38 states and various territories in the Union.


Cherries is the unofficial fruit for celebrating Washington's birthday (cherry pie, cherry cake, cherry bread, cherry cobbler, cherry wine, bowl of cherries, etc.). This, of course,  relates to the apocryphal story that Washington would not tell a lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree.  

The actual date of Abraham Lincoln's birthday has never been an official federal holiday, although some states recognized it.

There is no official federal holiday called 'President's Day.' Congress passed the 'Uniform Monday Holiday Act' in 1968 which rearranged Columbus Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and  Washington’s Birthday from their traditional dates to the third Monday of February (but due to widespread criticism, Veterans’ Day was returned to its original November 11 date in 1980).

George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were born in February, but President's Day does not coincide with any of their birthdays.

Advertising agencies and private business are typically credited for creating the term 'President's Day' as a way to boost sales during the 3-day long holiday weekend.

"On February 22nd of almost every year since 1888, Washington's Farewell Address has been read in the US Senate. It's an annual celebration of Washington's Birthday that stems from 1862 when the Address was read as a way to boost morale during the Civil War.

This address was and is so important because it warns of political factionalism, geographical sectionalism, and interference by foreign powers in the nation's affairs. Washington stressed the importance of national unity over sectional differences."
Yup. But certain a thin-skinned, neo-bolshevik wanna-bee potentate has something completely different in mind.

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