Monday, February 19th is Presidents’ Day

Today is Presidents’ Day.  Established in recognition of President George Washington in 1885, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. The holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day in the 1970’s and is viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is also in February, is often viewed as our “best” president. He held the Union together through a civil war that saw more than 620,000 Americans die and brought the end of slavery. George Washington, who helped to establish the office of president and set a new nation on its path, also gets high marks.

Mr. Lincoln was almost entirely a self-educated man. He was not a widely read man, in the way we would understand that today. His reading consisted almost entirely of the King James Bible, Blackstone’s lectures on English law, and Shakespeare. He loved Shakespeare.

George Washington’s formal schooling ended by the age of 15, but his pursuit of knowledge continued throughout his life. He read to become a better soldier, farmer, and president. He had more than 1,200 documents in his library at Mount Vernon.

READ Center students are reading a biography on George Washington this week in celebration of Presidents’ Day. They are also doing research on other presidents and their accomplishments.

Many of our presidents have left their mark on the United States and helped to push our nation forward economically, socially, and in international affairs. It is not an easy job and often a thankless one. Thank you to all who serve, have served, and will serve.

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Karen La Forge, READ’s Executive Director