Presidents Day is a federal holiday in the United States that honors the birthdays of two of America’s most beloved presidents - George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
George Washington was the first President of the United States. He was born on February 22, 1732. He took the oath of office in 1789. Just ten years later and just a few years after he retired, Washington died of a throat infection in 1799. Americans have celebrated his birthday to commemorate and honor his life ever since his death.
Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky on February 12, 1809. Despite his humble beginnings, he went on to become the 16th President of the United States and a hero to many. He married Mary Todd and the couple had four sons but only one lived to adulthood. In 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves.
"All persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free..."
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater on Good Friday in 1865. Since his death, Americans have also honored his life by celebrating his birthday.
Both birthdays were celebrated as public holidays until 1971, when President Richard Nixon combined the holidays into one national holiday, Presidents’ Day. The annual holiday not only commemorates Lincoln and Washington, but all American presidents of the past. The annual event is held on the third Monday in February.