Five Things to Start Your Day: Presidents Day Edition
Here are a few fun facts about the February holiday honoring our country's former leaders.
1. I AM YOUR FATHER: George Washington, known as "The Father of Our Country," was the first president of the United States. He played a major role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, declaring the colonies to be free and independent states. He fought valiantly in the American Revolution and led the Colonists to Freedom as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
2. GEORGE'S THOUGHT PROCESS: Washington was a methodical man. He gave a great deal of thought to every decision he made. However, once his decision was made he did not waver in his resolve. Valley Forge is a testimonial to that resolve. Valley Forge was a strategic location chosen because it separated the British forces in Philadelphia from the colonist Congress operating in York, Pa. It was there with a small army of 11,000 men through a freezing winter with few supplies and many desertions that Washington was able to train his forces. The sheer force of his belief in the colonists' right to freedom was what pulled him through these, the darkest hours of the American Revolution. Washington went on to win our independence.
3. GREAT ABE: Abraham Lincoln was our 16th President and he is known as "The Great Emancipator."
4. SLAVES NO MORE: Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, giving freedom to slaves held in any state in the Confederacy that did not return to the Union by the end of the year. Slavery was not abolished until the 13th Amendment was added to the Constitution on Dec. 18, 1865, after Lincoln's death.
5. THE HOLIDAY TODAY: In its modern form, Presidents Day is used by many patriotic and historical groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events. A number of states also require that their public schools spend the days leading up to Presidents Day teaching students about the accomplishments of the presidents, often with a focus on the lives of Washington and Lincoln.