Aerlex Law Group

Presidents’ Day

A message from Aerlex founder Stephen Hofer:

Presidents’ Day has been celebrated for centuries but it wasn’t always an official holiday or even known as Presidents’ Day.  The idea for celebrating our presidents goes back to the year 1800.  Our first President, George Washington, died in December of 1799, and in 1800 his birthday became an unofficial holiday honoring his presidency.  Many years later, in 1879, Washington’s Day became a national holiday, which lasted for almost one hundred years as a day of remembrance, also known as Washington’s Birthday.  In 1968 the U.S. Congress passed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  The measure meant that some public holidays would always fall on a Monday and included Washington’s Day.  A few years later, on February 21, 1971, President Richard Nixon issued a proclamation renaming the holiday “President’s Day” and calling it “the first such three-day holiday set aside to honor all presidents.”  Since then, the third Monday of February has been known as Presidents’ Day in the United States.  Many say it also honors our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, who was born on February 12, 1809.

So, how will most Americans celebrate Presidents’ Day?

Many citizens will display the American flag on the front of their home to acknowledge the holiday, at the very least.  Surprisingly, a lot of people will bake and eat cherry pies on this occasion, which are closely associated with President George Washington, as a result of an often-told tale about his youth.  The cherry tree myth is one of the most well-known and longest enduring legends about our first president.  In the original story, when Washington was 6 years old, he received a hatchet as a gift and damaged his father’s cherry tree.  When his father discovered what he had done, he became angry and confronted him.  Young George bravely said, “I cannot tell a lie … I did cut it with my hatchet.” Washington’s father embraced him and rejoiced that his son’s honesty was worth more than 1,000 trees.

How will you celebrate the holiday?  Some may take advantage of the occasion by writing a letter to the current president, or one of the former presidents.  Other’s will study the history of our presidents, visit museums or national landmarks that recognize our presidents, or simply take the time to reflect on our nation’s history and values.

However you choose to honor and celebrate our nation’s Presidents, enjoy this very special holiday, and remember all 46 presidents who have served and lead our great nation.


Stephen Hofer and the Legal Team at Aerlex