Mount Rushmore – George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) (image: dean.franklin)
by: Grayson Leverenz
If you’ve been watching prime time television over the past week, you’ve probably seen retailers advertising Presidents’ Day Sales. Monday, February 16th is Presidents’ Day, known in the US for the huge retail events as well as for celebrating the achievements of Presidents. Sales on everything from clothes to computers to cars have been a part of Presidents’ Day for as long as I can remember, and I haven’t been able to find any data on when that part of the tradition began. So, we’re going to assume it’s been going on for a while now.
Interestingly, the national holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February is not legally called Presidents’ Day; it’s formally George Washington’s birthday. However, because Abraham Lincoln was also born in February and never received his own national holiday, Washington’s day is now commonly called Presidents’ Day to honor Washington and Lincoln as well as the other US Presidents.
On national holidays, government offices and banks are closed. Government services like the postal service and trash collection don’t run, and public schools are closed. Some businesses are closed, but others use the holiday to attract eager shoppers with their phenomenal deals.
Below are a couple of cool facts about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln:
Every year since 1862 a member of the US Senate reads Washington’s Farewell Address on (or near) his actual birthday (Feb 22) to remind current leaders of the ideals and principles of “the father” of our country. Click here to read the address.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President and the first Republican ever elected. He ran under the National Union Party for his second term, and was the only person ever elected that was not running as either a Democrat or Republican.