Monday, February 18, 2013

Presidents' Day Holiday

federal holiday
Presidents' Day
honors Washington.
I can hear the water cooler discussions now;  “Boy, I have been looking forward to the 3-day holiday coming up next week! What do you have planned for your days off?” How many of us really think about why we are getting those much cherished days off of work and school? Do you consider it just another time NOT to have to go to work? 
We are about to celebrate Presidents' Day, which has been designated a federal holiday since 1968. Prior to 1968, on February 22, we celebrated Washington's birthday as a federal holiday. Lincoln's birthday fell on February 12 and was considered a public holiday. In 1968, Congress decided to coordinate a Monday holiday system that would be uniform across the country. They designated the third Monday in February as Presidents' Day to honor the two famous presidents together. Since then, this holiday has been celebrated as a federal holiday that honors all American presidents.

How Do You Celebrate Presidents' Day?

How do you celebrate the day set aside for us to think about the men that have shaped our country over the past two hundred and some odd years? If you read your newspapers this time of year, you will see all of the “Presidents’ Day” sales in just about every department store known to mankind! Now, I am not exactly sure just how the former presidents would have viewed the popularity of the retail sales that honor them, but hey if you can save some money on your purchases, why not! 

Since this is a winter time holiday, I know many families that plan their ski trips during this time.The only drawback to this planning is that they are NOT ALONE! The slopes are packed on this holiday weekend!
We should really take time to reflect on just why we stop our daily routines to honor our past presidents. According to the website for the US Parks Service, there are many planned activities that honor our past presidents. One of the best places to take part in the celebrations to honor our presidents is Washington D.C.   
The George Washington Birthplace National Monument in VA, holds an annual birthday celebration on President's Day and on his actual birthday. If you intend to take part in this celebration you can enjoy special colonial activities held throughout the day. Mount Vernon (now part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway) also honors George Washington with a birthday celebration weekend and an annual fee-free day held on the third Monday of February.
federal holiday
Celebrate Lincoln's Birthday by
visiting the Lincoln Memorial.
There are also annual activities to remember Abraham Lincoln's birthday that include a February 12th wreath laying ceremony at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in KY. Also Lincoln Day, held each year on the Sunday closest to February 12th at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana as well as special birthday programs at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Illinois. Each year, other special events are added, so be sure to check park calendars before you book your travel plans.

holiday weekend
Visit Mt. Rushmore for Presidents' Day.
Other places to visit include memorials to other presidents, like FDR. I have included Mt. Rushmore in my bucket list as a place I really, really want to visit before I leave this world. It is quite a feat and I'm sure that pictures don't do it justice.
So think about what you would like to do with your holiday time and make it a family affair.  Tell the kids why they don’t have to go to school and how important it is to honor those that have laid the ground work for the greatest country in the world, and that without those men of our historical past, we would not have the freedoms to do as we please on the day given to us in their honor. Get out and enjoy all the activities and most of all have some fun! Tuesday and the return to work will be right behind our fun day!
Cindy Foley
Contributing Writer

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