A long time ago George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, had his own holiday celebrated on February 22nd, Washington's birthday. President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th American president, was similarly honored on his birthdate, February 12th; school children usually had parties and pageants on both dates to celebrate these famous fathers of history.
Then President Richard Nixon got the notion that other presidents throughout history were being slighted, and why not honor the whole bunch of them with one federal holiday. In 1971, Nixon proclaimed that "President's Day" would furthermore be observed as a federal holiday on the third Monday of every February to honor all past presidents, living or dead; that's how the current President's Day holiday was born.
Presidents have long been a subject of fascination for most Americans. Washington, the first president, served between 1789 and 1797. Lincoln's term of office was tragically cut short by his assassination in 1865, some four years after he took office and guided the nation through the Civil War.
America has had 43 individuals, all men, serve in the office of the presidency to date. To qualify to be president, the U.S. Constitution says that a person must be a natural born citizen of the U.S., a resident of the United States for at least 14 years and at least 35 years of age to be elected. Currently there are four ex-presidents now living, including Jimmy Carter, father and son George H. Bush and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Eight presidents in all died in office; half of these died at the hands of assassins, including Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, Warren McKinley and John F. Kennedy.
The president who officially proclaimed the President's Day Holiday, Richard Nixon, was the only president to resign from office, disgraced by the Watergate scandal. Bill Clinton has been one of only two presidents to be impeached while in office, for his affair with a White House intern.
Many presidents have been given nicknames over the years. Among the most interesting: George "The Father of his Country" Washington; William "Old Tippicanoe" Harrison; John "Young Hickory" Tyler; Zachary "Old Rough and Ready" Taylor; James "The Do-Nothing President" Buchanan; Abraham "Honest Abe" Lincoln; William "Wobbly Willie" McKinley; Theodore "Rough Rider" Roosevelt; Calvin "Silent Cal" Coolidge; Harry S. "Give Em Hell" Truman; John "JFK" Kennedy; Lyndon "LBJ" Johnson; Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon; Jimmy "The Peanut Farmer" Carter; and Ronald "The Great Communicator" Reagan.
For more fun facts about the U.S. presidency and Presidents Day, check out "The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia" by Noah McCullough, "The Complete Book of Presidential Trivia" by J. Stephan Lang or visit theholidayzone.com.