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The great founder and first President of our nation, George Washington, died in 1799 at the age of 67. His birthday is on February 22. This day became a day of remembrance because he was revered as the most important figure in American history.

(General Washington led the Continental Army to victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. After the war ended (1783), he was finally able to resume the life he had missed at his beloved Mount Vernon. He intended to improve his personal finances which had suffered terribly during the war. However, he was reluctantly led back to a life of public service which ultimately led to his involvement with the creation of the Constitution during the summer of 1787. Then in 1789, he was elected President, unanimously with 69 electoral votes. He wrote to a former comrade in arms, Henry Knox, that his "movements to the chair of government will be accompanied with feelings, not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.")

In 1862, President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling on Americans to mark President Washington's birthday. He "recommended to the people of the United States that they assemble in their customary places of meeting for public solemnities on the 22nd day of February" to "celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the Father of his Country by causing to be read to them his immortal Farewell Address." In 1879, Washington's Birthday was officially passed into law as a federal holiday. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved a number of federal holidays to Mondays. During the debate on the bill, it was proposed that Washington's Birthday be renamed Presidents' Day to honor the birthdays of both Presidents (Washington and Lincoln). President Lincoln's birthday is February 12. The name change was rejected. In 1971, President Richard Nixon signed an Executive Order that this federal holiday would be the third Monday in February.

Retailers, to promote sales, commonly began to refer to this federal holiday as Presidents Day. Federal law still calls this holiday, Washington's Birthday, (Section 6103(a) Title 5, USC.

To honor this great man and President, we should make the time to read his Farewell Address to our nation: 

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