President’s Day ~ Lesser Known Facts

We are about to celebrate another Presidents’ Day on the third Monday in February (the 20th this year). This occasion was originally celebrated in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. It is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. While it was first celebrated on February 22, Washington’s actual day of birth, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act. That Act was an attempt to create more three-day weekends for our nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

The President of the United States is also the Commander-in-Chief of the countries armed forces. The principle of civilian control of the military decrease that the president need not be or have been a commissioned officer or a veteran of the armed forces.  Abraham Lincoln served as a volunteer in the Illinois Militia from April 21, 1832 – July 10, 1832 during the Black Hawk War.  Lincoln never saw combat during his tour but was elected captain of his first company. George Washington’s military career spanned over forty years of service with service in three different armed forces and in three different wars (French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War and the Quasi-War with France). Each of these men have been held in high esteem historically and in modern time. 

Wikipedia tells us that Abraham Lincoln was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.  Lincoln has been consistently ranked both by scholars and the public as among the three greatest U.S. presidents.

I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal. -Abraham Lincoln


George Washington was an American politician and soldier who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797 and was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and later presided over the 1787 convention that drafted the United States Constitution. He is popularly considered the driving force behind the nation’s establishment and came to be known as the “father of the country,” both during his lifetime and to this day.

Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.       –George Washington

Above are some well know facts – easily searchable and known to many of us since the days that we would color the still a little wet smelling of alcohol mimeographed hand outs of their faces in grammar school.  But there are always some lesser known facts.


Lesser known facts about George Washington are:

  • He didn’t have a middle name.
  • He was made an honorary citizen of France.
  • Nobody will ever rank higher than him in the U.S. Military.
  • His salary was 2 percent of the total U.S. Budget
  • He was the sickest president in U.S. history – suffering from diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottitis—to name a few.
  • He was a dog lover.
  • He is the only president to actually go into battle while serving as president.
  • He fell in love with his best friend’s wife.
  • He owned a whiskey distillery.

Some lesser known facts  about Abraham Lincoln are:

  • He is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
  • He created the Secret Service hours before his assassination.
  • Grave robbers attempted to steal Lincoln’s corpse.
  • Lincoln is the only president to have obtained a patent.  Lincoln, who loved tinkering with machines, designed a method for keeping vessels afloat when traversing shallow waters through the use of empty metal air chambers attached to their sides. For his design, Lincoln obtained Patent No. 6,469 in 1849.
  • Poisoned milk killed Lincoln’s mother.
  • Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln bedroom.

If Wikipedia contained an entry for you ….. and maybe it does, I’m not sure – what would not be listed?  What are some of your lesser known facts?


Peace and Love


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