President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday

17 02, 2020

Love Stories of Lincoln and Washington

By |2020-02-09T12:17:43-06:00February 17th, 2020|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Some of us will remember when February had holidays for only two presidents—George Washington on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln on February 16.Their actual birthdays.

These days we pay tribute to all presidents on one day in February.

To honor the two presidents with birthdays this month I’m sharing the stories of their marriages.

Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln

My wife was as handsome as when she was a girl,” Lincoln once told a reporter. “And I, poor nobody then, fell in love with her, and what is more, have never fallen out.

Mary Todd, the daughter of a successful merchant and politician, attracted the attention of up-and-coming politician and lawyer Abraham Lincoln. They shared a love of politics and literature and a deep love for each other. Unfortunately, her family did not approve of the match.

When he won his Congressional seat in 1846, she followed him to Washington. Something unheard of at the time.

 

George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis Washington

The romance of George and Martha was not a passionate romance by today’s standards. In the eighteenth century marriages were made to ease circumstances and build a good life.

She was the wealthiest widow in Virginia, with a 17,500 acre estate to manage and two very young children when they first met. He was a general who had just retired and needed a job. At the time of their engagement, they merely liked each other a great deal.

Eight months into his marriage, George wrote, “I am now I beleive fixd at this Seat with an agreable Consort for Life and hope to find more happiness in retirement than I ever experienced amidst a wide and busthng World.”

George and Martha chose their partners wisely, perhaps more than they realized at the time. According to historians, the couple shared forty years together during which they grew to love each other with true devotion.

I do love good love stories.

19 02, 2018

Why I think President’s Day is a Strange Holiday

By |2018-02-01T17:36:41-06:00February 19th, 2018|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|3 Comments

Three things strike me as making Presidents Day holiday strange.

1.    There’s no universal agreement on the actual name of the holiday

Most American holidays are clear-cut in what we are celebrating or honoring, i.e. 4th of July, Thanksgiving, or Martin Luther King Day.

Not so with Presidents Day. Ask several people what President’s Day recognizes or why we celebrate, and you’re likely to get totally different answers.

Fact is, President’s Day originated to recognize George Washington’s actual day of birth, February 22. It was the first federal holiday to celebrate the life of an individual and joined only four other national bank holidays – Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving.

Then under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971, which was passed to create more three-day weekends and increase retail and tourism revenue, it became known as Presidents’ Day and included President Abraham Lincoln whose birthday is February 12.

2.    There’s no clear clarification of which presidents are being honored

Popular culture gradually shifted the emphasis from recognizing Washington and Lincoln to a day to recognize the lives of American presidents generally.

Interesting to note that the Federal government still labels the third Monday in February on official calendars as Washington’s Birthday.

3.    There’s no agreement about whether to use an apostrophe or not

Sometimes the apostrophe isn’t used at all (as in Presidents Day), sometimes it is placed between the last two letters (President’s Day), and sometimes it is after the last letter (Presidents’ Day).

No specific title for the holiday is a little confusing, especially if you happen to be an English teacher.

Seems reasonable to say those three things make Presidents’ Day or President’s Day or Presidents Day a slightly strange holiday.

Wouldn’t you agree?