Many Americans look forward to President’s Day because of the heavily advertised sales held throughout the retail industry. A federal holiday, it is celebrated on the third Monday in February, giving many workers, teachers and students a welcome day off.
Actually, the official holiday is known as Washington’s Birthday. It is often recognized as the February birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Although celebrated in many states, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was actually approved as a federal holiday.
In 1968, when Congress moved federal holidays to Mondays to allow for long weekends, there was an attempt to change Washington’s Birthday to President’s Day to honor Washington, Lincoln and all the other presidents. The name change failed, but President’s Day remains the popular name largely due to tens of millions of dollars spent promoting holiday sales.
President’s Day does offer a good opportunity to reflect on the 44 presidents that have served this country. It is a constant debate about who were the greatest American Presidents. George Washington makes most of the lists. He was truly the father of the country, influencing more of current traditions and practices than he is given credit for.
Abraham Lincoln held this country together during the Civil War. Regardless of your heritage, the United States as we know it would not exist today without the efforts of Lincoln.
Franklin Roosevelt was the first person in a wheelchair to be a public figure and leader. He led this country not only out of the Great Depression, but guided us through the Second World War. The United States emerged stronger than ever after his twelve years of leadership.
However, we have been repeatedly influenced by each of the men that were elected to the world’s most exclusive club. Some of the facts about our famous leaders are little known or appreciated. Here are a few questions to test your knowledge.
1. Who was offered a professional football contract by both the
Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers?
2. Which President was also the youngest Navy fighter pilot in the armed services?
3. How many Presidents have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
4. What President had a candy bar named after his daughter?
5. Who was the first President to be married in the White House?
6. Who was the first Vice President to become President after a President died?
7. Which President was the first to receive a speeding ticket while in office?
8. Which President shot and killed a man?
9. Who will be our next great President?
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]
Answers: 1.) Gerald Ford; 2.) George H. W. Bush; 3.) Four (Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama); 4.) Grover Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth (Baby Ruth); 5.) Grover Cleveland; 6.) John Tyler; 7.) Ulysses S. Grant, whose speeding horse-drawn carriage warranted a $20 fine; 8.) Andrew Jackson; 9.) To Be Determined.