Happy President’s Day!

One of our most beloved President is George Washington who was born on February 22, 1732. He is known as, “Father of our Country”. According to Christie Matte form About.Com, “ U.S. Presidents Day, officially known as Washington’s Birthday, is a federal holiday in the United States and is celebrated on the third Monday of February. In 2008, Presidents Day falls on February 18.”  This holiday is to honor our first president who became role models for many U.S. presidents who came into power after him.  To show respect for this well loved president federal buildings, banks, and schools are closed.  For some people they do not know why or even care about the man behind the holiday.  For those of you who are interested, here is a repost from the National Archive.com.By George, IT IS Washington’s Birthday!
By C. L. Arbelbide

The Original “American Idol”

Painting by Gilbert Stuart

Historic dates, like stepping stones, create a footpath through our heritage. Experienced by one generation and recalled by those to come, it is through these annual recollections that our heritage is honored. In 1879 the Forty-fifth Congress deemed George Washington’s birth date, February 22, a historic date worthy of holiday recognition.

Washington was a man of his time: a farmer, a soldier, and an owner of slaves. Named commander-in-chief of the American Continental army, he led the colonies to victory over England, securing independence for an infant nation. His political leadership led to his election as president of the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Once the states ratified the Constitution, he was elected the first President of the United States, completing two terms.

Everything about George Washington was entwined with the evolution of a young nation. His name was associated with virtue, honesty, strength, courage, and patriarchal leadership. Schools, bridges, towns, the national capital, and even a state were named in his honor.

His likeness graced currency, stamps, sculptures, and paintings. Manufacturers deemed his image as public property. Historian William Ayres has stated that Washington must “surely hold the record for the number of times the image of a historical figure appeared on goods made for the American home.”

At six-feet, two and a half inches tall, Washington’s presence enhanced his political stature. Succeeding generations found significant ways to periodically resurrect his memory, including the centennial birthday celebration of 1832 and the laying of the Washington Monument’s cornerstone sixteen years later (1848). Close on the heels of the national centennial celebration of 1876, a patriotic colonial revival followed and, before the end of the century, a centennial observance of his death in 1899. With the 1930s carving of his likeness in stone on Mount Rushmore and the posthumous promotion to the rank of six-star General of the Armies in 1976, the numerous tributes continued to reaffirm George Washington’s place as the original “American Idol.”


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