The Meaning of President’s Day

In 1885, President’s Day was made an official national holiday by the federal government in the United States. Originally, the holiday was called “Washington’s Birthday” in recognition of our first president George Washington. Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated on February 22nd, which is George Washington’s date of birth. In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which created a 3-day holiday weekend and changed the commemoration to be known as “President’s Day”. The legislation also officially combined the holiday to celebrate George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

George Washington served as a general in the revolutionary war, became the first president of the United States, and is known as the father of our country. He is considered one of the most important figures in American history. His likeness can be seen on Mount Rushmore and the dollar bill. Also, he is well-known for the story of the cherry-tree. The story tells of how a young George Washington received a hatchet when he was 6 years old and cut down his father’s cherry tree. When his father questioned him about the tree, George famously responded “I cannot tell a lie… I cut down the cherry tree.”

Abraham Lincoln is known as one of the most important statesman in American History. He held the country together during the civil war and is credited for saving the union. Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, which began with the iconic phrase “Four score and seven years ago,” which freed all of the slaves in the rebellious states during the civil war. President Lincoln is also known for one of the most famous speeches in American history, the Gettysburg Address. This speech was conveyed during the American Civil War at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Pennsylvania. This speech reiterated the principles of human equality affirmed by the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln declared the Civil War as a struggle for the preservation of the Union that would bring true equality to all citizens. Lincoln also redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality.

Washington and Lincoln still remain as the two most recognized leaders in American history, but President’s Day is now popularly seen as a day to honor the lives and achievements of all of America’s past presidents. Like Independence Day, President’s Day is traditionally viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance. This President’s Day remember the contributions, sacrifices, and virtues bestowed upon our great nation. Show your patriotism and celebrate America’s rich history.