Presidents Day – Honoring the Leaders Who Shaped Our Country

Although today it is called Presidents Day, Washington’s Birthday, as the holiday was originally called, dates back to 1800. Following the death of George Washington in 1799, February 22 was designated a day to honor and remember one of the most important figures in American history. Before becoming the first President of the United States, Washington played an important role in the military, leading the Continental Army to victory over the British.

Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, celebrated the anniversary of the birth of one of our country’s most popular Presidents, Abraham Lincoln. It is still celebrated on that day in several states throughout the country.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that the name shifted to Presidents Day, combining the celebrations for both Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday. In later years, Presidents Day has come to represent a day to honor all of our country’s Chief Executives.

Today, Presidents Day is not only a day to celebrate the great historical leaders of our country, but also to remember how they were responsible for shaping America into the great country it is today. It is also a day to honor our military, dating back to when George Washington created the first military badge of merit. The Purple Heart Medal, which was revived on his 200th birthday, features Washington’s profile.

Fast Facts about Our Presidents

  • 26 out of 45 Presidents have served in the military
  • The three Presidents with the highest military ranks were George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ulysses S. Grant.
  • Although Ronald Reagan was part of the Army Air Force, George W. Bush is the only President to have served in the modern day U.S. Air Force.
  • George Washington is the only President who was unanimously elected. He is also the only President who didn’t represent a political party.
  • George Washington and James Madison are the only Presidents to sign the Constitution.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the first president to ever be photographed at his inauguration. In the photo, he is standing near John Wilkes Booth, his future assassin.
  • Martin Van Buren was the first President to be born as a citizen of the United States.

As we pay tribute this year to those who have served in our nation’s highest political office, Veterans Commemoratives also honors those who have served our country in the Armed Forces. Since 1987 Veterans Commemoratives has been proud to offer customized Service rings, watches and jackets featuring official War Memorials and Ribbons, Service and Career Emblems and Insignia.

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