This Year, Observe President’s Day With Our Flags and Bunting
Presidents Day, celebrated on the third Monday of each February, may not be the best-known holiday of the year. However, it’s one of the most significant ones history-wise, because it celebrates the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It’s also an excellent opportunity to teach young people about the founding of our nation and to hold an event in honor of our elected officials. For all of this, Independence Bunting is glad to help with Flags and Bunting to mark this special day of the year.
The History of Presidents DayIn 1879, Congress declared Washington’s birthday a federal holiday, to be observed by government offices in the District of Columbia. In 1885, its observation was expanded to all federal offices. Originally set for Washington’s actual birthday, February 22, it was moved in 1971 to the third Monday in February.
A movement began in the early 1950s to also have an annual day to honor all US presidents. The original day proposed for its observance was March 4, but, since President Lincoln’s birthday is February 12, it was thought that having three events so close together would be burdensome for those wishing to observe all of them. By the mid-1980s, it was common practice to regard the third Monday in February as an opportunity to remember all US commanders-in-chief – President’s Day was born.
President’s Day Traditions and ObservancesWhile many Americans may think of the event as being little more than a postal holiday, in fact, numerous communities across the country pay special tribute to it. Alexandria, Virginia, for example, holds a festive parade. Eustis, Florida has taken advantage of the mild Florida climate to celebrate “George Fest” every year since 1902. The sites of Mount Vernon and the George Washington Birth Place National Monument in Virginia hold parties and other events during the week in which the event falls.
However, the biggest President’s Day celebration of all occurs in the town of Laredo, Texas. Events last throughout the month of February and include parties, cook-offs, and a giant parade in which both American and Mexican soldiers march together side-by-side in honor of America’s first president.
The centerpiece of the festivities is the debutante ball, in which young ladies are presented to Laredo society. Event officials choose a man and woman from among the community’s leaders to play the roles of George and Martha Washington for the following year, and locals consider it a particularly high honor to be picked.
Especially interesting is the fact that Laredo’s population is 94% Latino. So the entire festival reflects a truly multi-cultural atmosphere, with various ethnic and national traditions blending together in honor of America’s presidents.
How to Make President’s Day a Special Time in Your HomeThe holiday presents rich opportunities to combine learning with fun, so make the most of it with lots of Decorative Bunting, American Flags, and other historical and patriotic-themed decorations. Here are some specific ideas for activities.
• The most famous story George Washington story of all says that he told the truth when, as a young boy, he chopped down his father’s cherry tree and was asked if he was culprit. While the tale is almost certainly fiction, it’s still a great way to explain the virtues of honesty. After telling it, have everyone enjoy a piece of delicious cherry pie. Bake it yourself or buy one (or two) from your local bakery or food market.
• Watch a short video about Washington, Lincoln, or another president, then have a contest in which the child who can answer the most questions about the film receives a special prize.
• Take a virtual tour of Mount Vernon or another site of historical significance. This might even be the beginning of an actual trip your family, civic, or church group takes later in the year to one or more of the sites.
While President’s Day is on your mind, take a few moments to browse our extensive selection of banners, flags and bunting. All of them are made right here in the USA to our exacting standards, and each can make your special occasions even more memorable.