Here in the United States, we commemorate Presidents Day on the third Monday of February. Most government offices are closed, as well as many schools, businesses, and private organizations. This holiday originated because two of our most famous and beloved presidents were born in the month of February. George Washington, the Father of Our Country, "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," was born on what was then February 11, 1732 in Westmoreland County, in what was then the Colony of Virginia, British America. During his lifetime, the calendar was corrected when it was discovered that it was eleven days off. His corrected birth date became February 22. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, known for his poor roots as well as holding the nation together during the American Civil War, was born February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. While he was beloved by many in the Northern States and will be forever honored by the African-American community for his Emancipation Proclamation, he was reviled (and in many places, still scorned) by those in the South.
The following prompts are listed to help you remember how you celebrated the presidents' birthdays in the past, and what you believe about honoring our leaders. If you live in another country, you may choose to answer these prompts from a perspective of honoring your own national leaders and/or celebrating your king or queen's birthday.
*As a child, do you remember celebrating either Lincoln or Washington's birthdays? How did you celebrate them? What do you remember learning about either of these men?
*In your opinion, who was the greatest leader of our country, and why?
*In your current career, do you get Presidents Day off? Why or why not?
*In many communities, Presidents Day weekend is well-known for sales and special deals. How do you feel about this? Do you like to go shopping on this weekend? Or do you feel this emphasis on commercialism is disrespectful?
*Presidents Day is also a day when veterans and Purple Heart recipients are honored. Are or were there any Purple Heart recipients in your family or ancestry? Have you written about what they did to earn this great award?