You may be happy to have Presidents’ Day off from work (if you do), and your children may be even more thrilled about the 3 day weekend; however today is preserved to honor and celebrate a very special day here in America, Presidents’ Day. Presidents’ Day is officially recognized as celebrating the birthdays and lives of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. However, many also use this day to celebrate the lives of all our presidents.
So, how exactly did Presidents’ Day come to be? Well, originally it was a day dedicated to celebrating Washington’s birthday. However, in 1968 a bill was passed which moved most holidays to fall on a Monday. This was partly due to the fact that many employers wanted their employees to have a longer weekend. However, the bill came with much opposition as the day no longer fell on Washington’s birthday. Therefore, because both Washington and Lincoln had birthdays in February the day was officially changed to Presidents’ Day.
George Washington was raised in Virginia and fought in various wars such as the French and Indian War, as well as the American Revolutionary War. He was regarded as a hero for leading us to victory over the British. Of course, most importantly he became America’s first president. Washington later died in his home of Mount Vernon.
Abraham Lincoln was a big part of ending slavery in America. In fact, his views had caused the South to succeed from the North, but Lincoln had proven to be victorious. Additionally, his famous “Emancipation Proclamation” freed slaves from all states, while his Gettysburg Address brought order and unification to the states. He was later assassinated by John Wilkes Booth and has become a deep rooted part of America’s history for the strides he made in our country.
So, how should you celebrate Presidents’ Day? By remembering the lives of Washington and Lincoln with everyone. However, if you’re looking to take a day trip with the family, Washington, D.C. is a great place to celebrate Presidents’ Day. In fact, the Smithsonian is a great place to visit and learn about our country’s history. The Smithsonian also offers a variety of daily events for all ages. Additionally, while you’re in Washington, D.C. don’t forget to stop at the Lincoln Memorial. On Presidents’ Day there is a wreath laying ceremony and a reading of the Gettysburg Address. The event is free to attend and begins around noon.
Virginia is also a great place to visit because there are many events held to celebrate George Washington. The events include a banquet, wreath laying, war reenactments, tours, and even a parade in the town where Washington once walked. Additionally, if your family is interested in learning more about where our first founding father had lived you’re in luck because admission to Mount Vernon is completely free on Presidents’ Day.
If you’re looking for a further venture to honor this day, why not visit Mount Rushmore? While the hours differ in the winter season, the park is still open daily 5AM to 9PM every day. Admission is also free, however you’ll still have to pay for parking.
So, remember that today isn’t just about a day off or retail sales, it’s about honoring our past presidents and country’s history.