Presidents' Day

Monday, February 21, 2011

No preschool today. Banks are closed, and mattresses are on sale.

It must be Presidents' Day!

Now that I'm in mom-land, I forget the details of holidays like this. What is it? Who are we celebrating? Why? And what should I tell my kids if they ask, "What is Pwes-a-dents Day?"

Time for some extremely academic Google research.

Presidents' Day is the common name for the federal holiday celebrating George Washington's birthday. (George Washington was our very first president, and if you didn't remember that, please don't tell anyone.) Our country celebrated for the first time on his actual birthday, February 22, 1796, during the last full year of his presidency. Since then, we've come to celebrate Presidents' Day on the third Monday of February, and it is now (depending on where you live) associated with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, and all other presidents thrown in for good measure.

In case you've forgotten . . . Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, and was our 16th president. He guided us through the Civil War, is largely credited with abolishing slavery, and (like me) grew up in the great state of Illinois. He was pretty awesome. To learn more, check out the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. I'll admit, I've got a certain affinity for Lincoln. My five-greats (or is it six?) grandfather, Jack Armstrong, was the one who wrestled Lincoln in New Salem, Illinois. For real, true story. Classy family history. Lincoln defended Jack's son, Duff, in a murder trial years later, and saved him from the gallows - so you could say I owe Lincoln. I'm glad he is included in this day of celebration.

Oddly enough, I feel kind of close to Washington, too. No brawl-based family history there, but my grandparents used to live near his estate, Mt. Vernon, and I visited it frequently as a child. It is gorgeous, and admission is free today.

Unfortunately, here in mom-land, Lincoln's library and Washington's estate are not within driving distance. Still, we can still walk down memory lane with these honorable men in a variety of ways today:
  • Kaboose has a great Presidents' Day page with historical quizes, craft ideas, printables and other kid-friendly activities.
  • Life as Mom has some creative suggestions for 4 small ways to celebrate Presidents' Day.
  • Turn your computer screen around and show your kids photos of Washington, Lincoln, and any other president who comes to mind. Heck, you could just pull out a dollar bill or a penny and start there.
  • Talk to your kids about the White House, and take a virtual tour.
  • Visit a local patriotic monument or memorial.
  • Display an American flag.
  • Wear red, white, and blue.
  • Buy a mattress.
Whatever you do today, remember why the post office is closed and why car dealerships are flying extra flags: It is Presidents' Day!

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Are your kids out of school today? Will you explain why to them? What are your Presidents' Day plans?

Hubby is in Honduras, on a mission trip with Habitat for Humanity. Please say a prayer for him, and the entire group. You can visit their blog, here. Thank you!

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One Response to “Presidents' Day”

  1. Love Mt. Vernon. We used to live 15 min from there. We had a great time there this summer.