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Five Patriotic Presidents Day Facts

Find out who -- and what -- we celebrate on Presidents Day, as well as some other fun facts.

Check out any calendar and you’ll see that the third Monday in February is designated as Presidents Day, a holiday most commonly associated with two of the (arguably) most important presidents of our country, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

But really, only one of those is accurate. Read on to find out who -- and what -- we celebrate on Presidents Day, as well as some other fun facts:

1. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington share the same birth month. Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, while Washington was born on February 22, 1732 -- only some 10 days and 77 years apart. But while Honest Abe made some important contributions to our country’s history, the federal government never really saw him as Washington’s equal. Here’s why…

2. February 18 is a federal holiday honoring George Washington’s birthday. In 1885, Chester A. Arthur -- coincidentally, one of the least memorable presidents -- signed the bill that made the third Monday in February a federal holiday called George Washington’s Birthday.

People had already been celebrating Washington’s birthday since before his death -- after all, he was a general and the first president. Yet so many people had qualms with Lincoln getting stiffed in the recognition department that the day became commonly known as Presidents Day and the celebration usually honored them both.

3. Yet Lincoln still comes out on top. A little research into presidential polls shows that Lincoln commonly tops the chart as the most popular and influential president in our country’s history. Washington’s rank ranges from the number two spot all the way down to number six. Want proof? Check out this MSNBC poll from 2009, in which historians ranked the presidents in order from greatest to least.

Or see this Gallup poll from only one year ago, which places Lincoln in the two slot, with Washington hanging out at number five. You can just imagine that somewhere the two of them are slugging it out over who was more important -- the guy with the numbers or the guy with the day.

4. No matter who Presidents Day honors, it all comes down to the sales. Presidents Day has long since been known as a time when retailers roll out The Star-Spangled Banner and pay some guy to don a stovepipe hat or powdered wig to triumphantly announce that ALL STOCK MUST GO!

Ever since the 1980s, retailers have been using Presidents Day as an excuse to have great sales, in order to clear out merchandise to make room for spring and summer stock.

5. But what’s really the best way to celebrate Presidents Day? Other than running madcap through the department stores? Why not enjoy a cherry-related dessert -- after all, that’s one of Washington’s biggest claims to fame.

As the story goes, a young Washington rebelliously chopped down a cherry tree but later fessed up to his father when asked about it because “he cannot tell a lie.” Much later this story was debunked as being a lie itself, a fable fabricated as a tribute to Washington’s legendary honesty (even though Lincoln once again trumps him with his own famous nickname).

Happy Presidents Day!

Sources: about.com and Huffington Post.

Jonathan February 18, 2013 at 01:25 PM
What a lovely homoerotic picture of the two presidents.
William Dawes February 18, 2013 at 02:42 PM
1.625 Billion bullets to be purchased by DHS? Why would the Department of Homeland Security be buying that many bullets, many of which are hollowpoint (illegal per the Geneva Convention) for use within the United States? George Washington would be appalled, and most likely concerned about the growing expansion of power of the Federal Government, and the erosion of Liberties enshrined in the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln, being the anti-Constitutional arch-Federalist tyrant that he was, would see the similarity between our current period, and the period just prior to the Civil War. He would sympathize with a Federal Government ready to brutally crush any dissent by its citizens. I can't imagine a holiday with two more dissimilar Presidents. And both are arguably the most important? Washington the most important for Liberty and Freedom, who willingly relinquished power when asked to become the King of the United States. Lincoln the most important for stamping on the Constitution, and placing the Federal Government in a dominant position over the States. When you realize the loss in Liberties - drones flying overhead, groping by the TSA, electronic surveillance, overseas endless wars, the rise of the Police State - you can thank Lincoln.
William Dawes February 18, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Sorry, I forgot the link to the ammunition purchases. http://www.infowars.com/dhs-purchases-21-6-million-more-rounds-of-ammunition/
Dewey February 20, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Interesting read... but I would consider that infowars data a little suspect. The purchase of "21.6 million rounds of ammunition" is actually for 0.24 million rounds... They are off by a few decimal places in their math (addition and multiplication are hard though when your mind is at war). Even after dozens of comments have highlighted this fact, they have yet to offer up any update or correction (after 2 weeks).
William Dawes February 20, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Dewey Nice catch. The amounts stated by infowars are incorrect. But do you dispute the figure of 1.6 Billion bullets in purchase orders (the amount is the maximum purchase to be delivered within 5 years)? Do you find anything disturbing about DHS, a domestic agency, purchasing hollowpoint ammunition (designed for lethality)? Have you considered this act in relation to the NDAA allowing indefinite detention of enemy combatants, the declaring of the entire US within the war on terror, the expansion of electronic surveillance (Stellar Wind), the use of drones inside the US, the increase in training exercises by the military in large urban centers, the expansion of the TSA outside of airports, the purported "litmus test" reported by Jim Garrison of top military brass of whether they would fire on American citizens, and so on? You appear to be right on the incorrect stating of the amounts in this particular purchase order, but what do you consider of the trend of the above? Connect the dots. What do you see? I see a government preparing for either mass civil unrest, economic collapse, or a civil war.

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