What is Presidents' Day?

What is Presidents' Day?

School-aged children, federal employees, bankers, stock brokers and more jump for joy each year at the thought of a three day weekend to commemorate Presidents' Day. The sad fact though is, many are not even aware of what the day honors.  

Starting in 1879, February 22nd served as a day to honor our first US president, George Washington on the anniversary of his birth. 

George Washington did not ask to become president. He felt unqualified to lead the virgin nation yet still served honorably with great humility and strength because he believed in the dreams being realized and heard the call of his country. In doing so he left his beloved farm and filled the role he had been asked to take. His two terms as president established the legacy of what being president of the free world would look like for the next two hundred plus years. 

In  1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Act making several federal holiday celebrations occur on Monday to ensure workers a three-day weekend in hopes of greater productivity. The law went into effect in 1971, making the celebration of Washington's birthday on the third Monday of February, irregardless of what date that might fall on. In doing so it was also declared that this federal holiday would honor not only Washington, but every person who stepped up to serve as the commander and chief of the United States which we now know as Presidents' Day. However on federal calendars the date is still observed as "Washington's Birthday." 

In Virginia where Washington was born, there is a month long celebration of presidents ending in a large parade on February 22nd. Festivities include eating cherry pies, a reading of Washington's famous speeches, and historical reenactments. 

However you choose to celebrate Presidents' Day, please do so with respect to this great nation and the individuals who built it, like former President George Washington. 



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