President’s Day 2008
Published On: February 15, 2008
Quoting directly from Wikipedia, Presidents Day (or Presidents’ Day), is the common name for the federal holiday officially designated as Washington’s Birthday, and both variants are among the official names of a number of coinciding state holidays. It is celebrated on the third Monday of February.
“As the official title of the federal holiday, Washington‘s Birthday was originally implemented by the federal government of the United States in 1880 in the District of Columbia (20 Stat. 277) and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices (23 Stat. 516). As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. January 1, 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents’ Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln, but when signed into law on June 28, 1968 simply moved Washington’s Birthday.
“In the late 1980s, with a push from advertisers (see detail below), the term Presidents Day began its public appearance. The theme has expanded the focus of the holiday to honor another President born in February, Abraham Lincoln, and often other Presidents of the United States. Although Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, approximately a dozen state governments have officially renamed their Washington’s Birthday observances as “Presidents Day”, “Washington and Lincoln Day”, or other such designations. It is also interesting to note that “Presidents Day” is not always an all-inclusive term. In Massachusetts, while the state officially celebrates “Washington’s Birthday,” state law also prescribes that the governor issue an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring the presidents that have come from Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy. (Coolidge, the only one born outside of Massachusetts, spent his entire political career before the vice presidency there.) Alabama uniquely observes the day as “Washington and Jefferson Day,” even though Jefferson’s birthday was in April. In Connecticut, while Presidents Day is a federal holiday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is still a state holiday, falling on February 12 regardless of the day of the week.
“In Washington’s home state of Virginia the holiday is legally known as ‘George Washington Day.’”
Other interesting related links:
- Biography of George Washington on About.com
- Official Site for Mt. Vernon, Home of George Washington
- Biography of Abraham Lincoln in Roots Web
Roots Web’s Happy President’s Day is a fascinating site with short biographies of George Washington and Abraham Lincon. The site also has a myriad of links about George Washington such as History of the Man, The American Revolution, Early Life and Career, and on and on. They have a plethora of links as to Abraham Lincoln, as well, such as Early Life, Illinois Legislator, the Slavery Issue, the Civil War and the Gettysburg Address.