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The first President's Day

Proclaiming a day for George Washington in 1800 by John Adams

On Jan. 6, 1800, our own John Adams, then serving as president in the nation's capital of Philadelpha, declared a national day of mourning for George Washington, who had died less than a month earlier. The date chosen was Washington's birthday - Feb. 22.

Massachusetts declared its own day of mourning for Feb. 22 that year as well:

Declaration of a day of oration for George Washington in Boston

Images from the State Library of Massachusetts.

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Not all our presidents deserve holidays. When I was growing up we celebrated Washington's birthday on Feb. 22. In many states, including where I grew up, we also celebrated Lincoln's birthday on Feb. 12. Merging them into one bland, meaningless "Presidents Day" occurred during the move to move all holidays to Mondays for convenience.

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The federal holiday is still officially "Washington's Birthday" . The holiday at the state/regional level varies, here in MA it is "Presidents' Day".

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here in MA it is "Presidents' Day".

At least it isn't according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office. I couldn't find any statute stating otherwise.

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I was surprised that other states didn't also observe Evacuation Day. Saint Patrick evacuated the snakes out of Dorchester Heights...or something? Considering how many [expletive] snakes Samuel L. Jackson evacuated from that [expletive] plane: Massachusetts could use a Samuel L. Jackson Day.

I wonder if there are other Suffolk County/Massachusetts regional-specific holidays. Ben Franklin was never president but if anyone deserves a holiday (especially in MA) then it's Ol' Big Ben.

Also, Hawaii has Kamehameha Day on June 11th which is just so delightful to say aloud.

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The General Court in Massachusetts resolved to honor Washington on Feb 22nd every year, according to the "Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court, 1856"

"Resolved, that the two branches of the general court, will meet in convention, at twelve o’clock, meridian, on the twenty-second day of February, to commemorate the one hundred and twenty-fourth anniversary of the birthday of Washington."

We may not have declared it a holiday then but recognized Washington's role way before everyone else.

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Nixon, Fillmore, Clinton and Trump.
Which President was the biggest chump?
Obama, Kennedy, Dubya and Lincoln.
With which POTUS would you like to go drinkin'?
Truman, Reagan, FDR and Ford.
Do you like to read their stories or do you get bored?
Washington, Adams, Coolidge and Grant.
I used to be able to name them all, but these days I can't.
Happy Presidents Day!!!

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