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Happy President's Day!

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Stars and Stripes Forever

George Washington was born February 22, 1732 to a Virginian planter family. They instilled in him the values and ethics to make him a proper gentleman of the time. In his adult life, he was involved in military arts and western expansion. He was a leader of the armed forces for the French American war and the Revolutionary war. That war ended after the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781.

After the war, he was one of the main voices in the creation of the constitution. When it was ratified in 1789, he was unanimously elected President, thus becoming the First President of the United States!

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky on February 12, 1809. He attended school for brief periods but when not out working for neighbors, he reads many books. In 1830, his family moves to Illinois and he makes his first political speech regarding improved navigation on the Sangamon River. Over the course of his life, he worked as a lawyer and was elected for the Illinois General Assembly four times. In the 1850's, he began to support efforts to keep slavery out of the northern states. He didn't want slavery to start in new places where it wasn't practiced. This stand helped him to get nominated and elected as the 16th President in 1860. After he was elected, southern states started seceding from the union. Then he raised up an army to keep the union together. The Civil War lasted 4 years. In 1863, he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation which was a declaration of freedom for all slaves in the confederacy not under union control. In 1864, Lincoln was re-elected President. After he was inaugurated, he gave a speech in which he stated that he supported voting rights for African Americans. In the crowd was John Wilkes Booth, who was a known racist and Southern sympathizer. He was quite upset by Lincoln's statements! In 1865, Lincoln was the the Ford Theater watching a play. John Wilkes Booth entered the theater and assassinated from the back as he watched the play. Lincoln died the next day. The entire country mourned his loss.

Lincoln is remembered for his gentle manner and as the force behind the demise of slavery. He had humble beginnings and went on to greatness!

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President's Day had its humble beginnings many years ago! In the 1700's and 1800's, George Washington's birthday was reason to pull out all the stops and have a big celebration. In 1865, after Lincoln died, his birthday was celebrated as well, although it did not become a national holiday. In 1968, legislation was passed that declared that George Washington's birthday should be celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February regardless whether it was the 22nd or not. This took effect in 1971 and gave all federal employees the day off and a 3-day weekend. So, we honor both Washington and Lincoln and all the other men who have served our country as President. One should pause during the day and give a thought too all of those who came before and have made our country what it is.

Holiday Hotel President's Day Award

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Sources of Information
President's Day

US Presidents' List

Abraham Lincoln's Research Site

White House History of George Washington

The History Place presents Abraham Lincoln

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This page last updated on August 12, 2006 !

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