Presidents’ Day has our affection because it offers us a long weekend, right? A Monday off from work and school during the middle of winter is always welcome. And let’s face it, the sales are nice, too!
But the holiday means so much more than a red-tag sale on a mattress. Read on for some inspiring Presidents’ Day facts.
Back in 1968, Congress introduced a bill to help create some long weekends to (hopefully) prevent people from skipping work. The bill passed in 1971 under President Nixon, and the holiday Washington’s Birthday was placed on the third Monday of February. It took another decade before Americans started to include Lincoln in their celebration and call it Presidents’ Day.
However, Presidents’ Day doesn’t fall on the actual birthdays of any of our presidents: Washington’s birthday is February 22, and Lincoln’s is February 12. And the holiday is actually celebrated differently depending on your home state. While most states spotlight Washington and Lincoln, others celebrate Jefferson (Alabama), for example.
OK, so why is the focus primarily on Presidents Washington and Lincoln? If you’re fuzzy on American history, here is a little recap (link topinspired.com) you can share with your grandkids. We can teach them why these leaders deserve our deepest honor and respect.
- Served as president from 1789 to 1797.
- As our nation’s first president, he was voted unanimously to serve two terms.
- He would not accept any salary, and even contributed his own funds to our country’s budget.
- He created the title, “Mr. President.”
- He served as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army for 8½ years. The poor army struggled in miserable conditions, but under Washington’s leadership beat Great Britain.
- He organized the first Cabinet and played a major role in creating the Bill of Rights, amendments to our Constitution that guarantee many of our rights and freedoms.
- He helped create our nation’s policies of neutrality with other countries.
- Served as president from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.
- He was our country’s 16th president.
- He worked hard to preserve the Union and win the Civil War by improving the army’s military tactics.
- He was antislavery, and under the Emancipation Proclamation, more than three million slaves were set free.
- He implemented the printing of paper money and bank credit under the National Currency Act.
- He created the Department of Agriculture, which helped our nation’s farmers.
- He created our Thanksgiving holiday as a token of gratitude to God for winning the Civil War.
And just for fun, check out these Presidents’ Day activities for kids. This 300-piece puzzle of our nation’s presidents is a surefire tool to help educate kids on our nation’s leaders. If you want a more “puzzling” challenge, try the White House 3D puzzle, which includes 64 pieces and is rated “easy.” This American presidents activity book contains puzzles and other fun pencil games. There is also a U.S. presidents card game that would be fun to try!