UNITED STATES (2/17/14) — Originally established in 1885, after President George Washington’s birthday, which is still viewed as “Washington’s Birthday” by federal law, Presidents Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February to honor past and present American presidents.
The story of Presidents Day essentially dates back to 1800 following President George Washington’s death in 1799. His Feb. 22 birthday became a continuing day of his remembrance.
During that time, Washington was cherished as one of the most important figures in American history.
While Washington’s birthday was viewed as the unofficial observance for most of the 1800s, it wasn’t until 1870s when it became a federal holiday.
Sen. Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas, was the first to propose the idea of making it a federal holiday, but wasn’t signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes until 1879.
In the beginning, the holiday only pertained to the District of Columbia, but in 1885 it was branched out to the whole country, making it the first individual American life to be celebrated.
The shift of Washington’s Birthday to Presidents Day began in the late 1960s when Congress introduced the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
Then in 1971, the act was put into place as an attempt to create more three-day weekends since Presidents Day never actually fell on any presidents birthday’s.Today, Presidents Day is traditionally viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance.
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