Contrary to popular opinion, today in the United States is not a holiday to honor all former Presidents. It is still recognized as George Washington’s Day.

The third Monday in February has come to be known – wrongly – as President’s Day. … Although it was celebrated as early as 1778, and by the early 19th century was second only to the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday, Congress did not officially recognize Washington’s Birthday as a national holiday until 1870. The Monday Holiday Law in 1968–applied to executive branch departments and agencies by Richard Nixon’s Executive Order 11582 in 1971–moved the holiday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates that legal federal holiday as “Washington’s Birthday.? Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed “Washington’s Birthday? to “President’s Day.?

Washington has long been my favorite American. I have known plenty of people who have held General’s Thomas Jackson, Robert E. Lee, or Franklin Roosevelt in my grandparent’s generation or any of the myriad of inventors, scientists, educators, theologians, business leaders, etc. that have contributed to the growth of the United States. In my estimation, Washington has set the standard for being an American.

To learn more of General Washington’s religious beliefs in a Q&A published today with Templeton award winner Michael Novak, click here

See how Washington’s birthday was celebrated at his home today, Mount Vernon; or simply check out the Alexandria, VA site devoted to their most famous son’s birthday at http://www.washingtonbirthday.net.

In Washington’s Day, and in the year’s afterwards, it was a day of cherished memories of the Rovolutionary struggle; especially considering many of the first generation of people living in the United States had memories of being forced to celebrate the King’s official birthday on June 4th. To instead have public celebrations of Washington’s birthday was an important event to take solace in the national identity.

So Happy Birthday Your Excellency!

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