All About President’s Day

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President’s Day is a Federal holiday celebrated in the United States. It is celebrated the third Monday in February. Originally, this date was known as Washington’s Birthday, but since President Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays are so close together ,this day has been made the official President’s Day.

It is honoring the two great presidents – and there are some very interesting tidbits about it:

George Washington

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George Washington was actually born on February 11,1731, but everyone knows that his birthday is listed as February 22nd. When he was born the colonies were using the Julian calendar, which was 11 days behind the Gregorian calendar. And then when in 1752, Britain and colonies switched to Gregorian calendar, Washington’s birthday was moved to February 22nd.

George Washington created the Purple heart – medal that recognizing soldiers who have been injured in battle. He was a great leader with tons of courage and that earned him the nickname “The Founder of his Country”.

Abraham Lincoln

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During his last year as president, his birthday was declared a holiday and was known as “Washington’s birthday”, until 1885 when then president Chester A. Arthur signed a legislation that made it a federal holiday.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12,1809 and his biggest accomplishment is preserving United States during the Civil War. To this day, there are some states that celebrate Lincoln’s birthday as their state holiday – but it was never a holiday elevated to the federal level.

The uniform Monday Holiday Bill was passed by the Congress in 1968, making the third Monday in February “President’s Day” .Subsequent promotions and marketing efforts in 1980’s by businesses really made President’s Day commercial holiday and the public started referring to the holiday by the name of “The President’s Day”.

How To Celebrate President’s Day

If you would like to celebrate and acknowledge this holiday, here are a few ideas:

Read the Gettysburg Address for yourself or read it to your family. Remember that Lincoln was a very powerful writer and orator:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that  all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Visit a Civil War battlefield. Gettysburg is the most well-known, but there are many other national monuments that honor the soldiers who died during the Civil War.

Here is where you can find Civil War Battlefields in your state:

Civil War Battlefields

And:

Bake a Cherry Pie! Or if you don’t feel like baking one, just get one to eat. George Washington may not have ever chopped down that cherry tree, but why waste a good story?

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Here is how the legend goes:

When George Washington was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet of which, like most little boys, he was extremely fond. He went about chopping everything that came his way.

One day, as he wandered about the garden amusing himself by hacking his mother’s pea- sticks, he found a beautiful, young English cherry tree, of which his father was most proud. He tried the edge of his hatchet on the trunk of the tree and barked it so that it died.

Some time after this, his father discovered what had happened to his favorite tree. He came into the house in great anger, and demanded to know who the mischievous person was who had cut away the bark. Nobody could tell him anything about it.

Just then George, with his little hatchet, came into the room.

“George,” said his father, “do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? I would not have taken five guineas for it!”

This was a hard question to answer, and for a moment George was staggered by it, but quickly recovering himself he cried: —

“I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.”

The anger died out of his father’s face, and taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said: —

“My son, that you should not be afraid to tell the truth is more to me than a thousand trees! yes, though they were blossomed with silver and had leaves of the purest gold!”

And here is a recipe for a great Super Simple Cherry Pie for you:

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of pitted Tart Cherries, well drained
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of cornstarch
  • Half a package of frozen puff pastry, thawed (1 piece)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

  • In large bowl, stir cherries with vanilla.
  • In another bowl, stir sugar with cornstarch; stir into cherries until blended.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry into thin 14-inch circle. (Edges will not be even.)
  • Lift onto ungreased baking sheet.
  • Spoon cherry mixture into centre; gently fold up edges of pastry to partially cover the filling, leaving centre uncovered.
  • Brush pastry with egg.
  • Bake on rack below centre of 400°F oven until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly, about 40 minutes.
  • Let cool before cutting.

Have a great holiday and I hope you have enjoyed receiving all this information. As always, your comments, suggestiong and input is very welcomed!

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About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, step mother to Abbie Gateman and is also a brand new Grandmother. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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