Presidents Day 2018: How did the holiday get started?

NBC5 Editorial: Celebrating the meaning of Presidents' Day

NBC5 Editorial: Celebrating the meaning of Presidents' Day

"The United States celebrates today the date known as Presidents" Day, whose origin is related to the date of birth of the first head of government of this country, George Washington (1732-1799). We all know Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, but can you place James K. Polk or Millard Fillmore in USA history? So it got me wondering: is Presidents' Day about about Washington and Lincoln, or is it somehow about all Presidents?

The official national holiday honors George Washington, the country's first president. Many schools are closed although some that were originally scheduled to be closed for the holiday had to adjust their schedules due to missed snow days, and will be open today.

Over the years, some states adopted the holiday to celebrate either Washington or former presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. But Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day were moved to Mondays. But that measure proved to be particularly controversial for legislators from Virginia, Washington's home state.

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George Washington was born on February 11, 1731.

Only, folks weren't done messing with George Washington's birthday. The parties take turns having a senator read the speech each year, and they now record their names in a notebook that has been used since 1900. Patriotic groups and the Boy Scouts of America also held celebrations on the day, and in 1938 some 5,000 people attended mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City in honor of Washington. When Washington resigned from the presidency after two terms, he set a precedent for the peaceful transfer of power that continues to stand out as a moral example to the free world.

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