Friday, February 15, 2008
President’s Day dates back to our founding father and first President, George Washington. Washington was born on February 22, 1732. On his birthday in 1796, when Washington was in his last full year as president, the day became the holiday known as Washington’s Birthday. However, Americans didn’t observe this holiday until 1832, 100 years after his birth.
Abraham Lincoln was the next President to gain reverence similar to Washington. Born on February 12, 1809, Lincoln’s birthday was first celebrated in 1865, the year after he was assassinated. Although his birthday was not honored as a federal holiday like Washington’s, many states adopted it as a legal holiday. In 1968, Congress passed legislation placing any federal holiday on a Monday, including Washington’s birthday, to create a three-day weekend.
In 1971, President Richard Nixon combined Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays into President’s Day. It would be celebrated on the third Monday in February, regardless of which day it fell on. President’s Day is now viewed as a holiday that pays tribute to both Washington and Lincoln, as well as all those who have served as president, including Andrew Jackson who served as the 7th U.S. President from 1829-1837.
Interesting Presidential Facts
• Only five presidents have ever worn facial hair when they sought the office. The last was over a century ago, in 1889; Benjamin Harrison.
• Andrew Jackson was the first of three U.S. Presidents from Tennessee. These include James K. Polk (1845-1849) of Columbia and Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) of Greeneville.
• 32nd president of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt was related, either by blood or by marriage, to 11 former presidents.
• Only President Andrew Jackson has an entire era in American history named after him, the "Jacksonian Era," which took place from the 1820s-1840s.
• The teddy bear derived from 26th U.S. president Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt's refusal to shoot a bear with her cub while on a hunting trip in Mississippi.
• Often depicted wearing a tall black stovepipe hat, 16th president of the United States Abraham Lincoln carried letters, bills, and notes in his hat.
• 15th U.S. president James Buchanan is the only unmarried man ever to be elected president.
• Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. president, published more than 16 books, including one called Fishing for Fun-And to Wash Your Soul.
• Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th president of the United States, underwent a secret operation aboard a yacht to remove his cancerous upper jaw in 1893.
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