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The Madera Tribune

Did Washington tell the truth about his age?

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webmaster | 02/21/12

The celebration of George Washington’s birthday is almost as old as the nation itself. After he died, the memorials proliferated until Congress finally acted in 1885 to make Feb. 22 a national holiday, but therein lay a problem.

For the next 83 years Americans continued to recognize Feb. 22, 1732, as George Washington’s birthday. Then in 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act, which moved the official observance of Washington’s birthday from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February. Feb. 22, however, was still a highly revered day because that was the actual day our first president was born, or at least that was what the people had been told.

Today the third Monday in February is known as Presidents Day due to an effort by Richard Nixon in 1971 to include the memory of Abraham Lincoln alongside that of Washington.

It is not unexpected then that a little confusion reigns during February of each year. On the third Monday of the month, some folks honor all of the presidents. Others honor only Washington and Lincoln, and some honor just Washington. All the while, a few purists hold fast to Feb. 22 as the day to pay their respects...


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