The boring part of this post is to say that it was originally formed in honor of George Washington’s birthday. His birthday (February 22) was first celebrated in 1880 and it became a national holiday around 1885, which was later moved to the 3rd Monday of February. And somewhere in there, somebody noticed Lincoln had a birthday around the same time, but technically the holiday is supposed to celebrate ALL Presidents, even the ones you didn’t like and/or didn’t vote for. (Cuz that’s the beautiful thing about Democracy inAction!)
The interesting part of this post actually made my nerd self really happy. I had to work today and I had to drive because the Metro was all jacked up this weekend. Siri must have been psychic or something, because instead of putting me on the highway on my side of the River, she had me drive into the city and get on the highway later. But first I had to take Independence Avenue around the Lincoln Memorial, and then I got to wave to the Washington Monument on one side an the Jefferson Memorial on the other. Three great men, greatly flawed and greatly misunderstood.
I thought it was a fitting tribute to Presidents’ Day. And then I got creeped out that Siri knew this and promptly missed my turn and got lost.
So. To celebrate this day, I’ll post a poem here from a book dad read to us as kids. The book was called “Did Molly Pitcher Say That?” by Ira Glackens and I think this Presidential Poem is superior to the Animaniacs Song if only because they omitted Cleveland’s non-consecutive terms:
Washington, Adams, Jefferson then
Madison, Monroe, and an Adams again
Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison died
The Whigs hated Tyler and cast him aside
Polk kept his promises, Taylor arrived
His lease on the White House was rather short lived.
Fillmore and Pierce were both duds and came next
Buchanan old fellow was sorely perplexed.
Abraham Lincoln through dark bore a light
Johnson stood firm when he knew he was right
Grant was a soldier who smoked quite a lot
Hayes loved Sound Money and Garfield was shot.
Arthur and Cleveland and Harrison run,
Then Cleveland comes back when we thought he was done.
McKinley was shot in a Prince Albert coat
Roosevelt came with a grin and a gloat
Taft was the cheerful one pleasant and stout
Wilson had dreams that would never pan out
Harding had friends you had better not know
Coolidge was cool and Hoover was slow
And Roosevelt had it four times in a row.
Truman was cocky which some do not like
Dwight Eisenhower was best known as Ike.
Kennedy slain in his prime and his flower
Lyndon B Johnson succeeded to power
Nixon’s career had an end unexpected
Ford became chief without being elected
Carter came beaming on foe and on friend
Reagan foretold a conservative trend
Bush was a twig not easy to bend…
… and then add Clinton, Bush again, and Obama. Apologies for the poor punctuation, this is a copy of a copy. More information on each person listed here. I was going to link every President to a page but that’s a lot of work. Go read up on a President you’ve never heard of! Who the heck was Millard Fillmore anyway?! Who had the shorter term: Garfield or Harrison? What is the irony that the first President born in the US was also the only President to not have English be his first language?? Go crazy!!