Monday, February 20, 2006

President's Day

I thought I'd tell a little history of the holiday only instead of throwing dates at you I'll throw a photo, giving an example of what people at that time actually looked like, at you as well.

The original version of the holiday was in celebration of George Washington's birthday in 1796. Then came Abraham Lincoln, another revered president and a February baby as well (the 12th). Lincoln's Birthday did not become a federal holiday like George Washington's, but it did become a legal holiday in several states.

By the early 19th century, Washington's Birthday had taken firm root in America as a national holiday. Traditions included Birthnight Balls, speeches and receptions by prominent public figures, and much merrymaking in taverns throughout the country.

In 1968, legislation (HR 15951) was enacted that affected several federal holidays. One of these was Washington's Birthday, the observation of which was shifted to the third Monday in February each year whether or not it fell on the 22nd. This act took effect in 1971.

Ok, not everyone dressed like a flaming hippie. For balance:

(Just for the record, sixties fashion belongs to the Brits who set the tone and the world followed them.)

While the holiday in February is still officially known as Washington's Birthday (at least according to the Office of Personnel Management), it has become popularly (and in some states, legally) known as "President's Day." This has made the third Monday in February a day for honoring both Washington and Lincoln, as well as all the other men who have served as president.

Click here to view all of the Presidents of the United States of America.

Click here to read "The Life of Washington", by David Ramsay (entire book can be read online).

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