Okay, that's a trick question.
They are all correct. While some spellings are deemed more correct than others, since "Presidents' day" in not the official holiday, there has never been an official spelling determined.
In fact, the holiday that we generally celebrate as Presidents' Day is officially Washington's Birthday.
After an Act of Congress, Washington's Birthday was made a federal holiday in 1879 for federal offices in Washington, D.C. and was celebrated on February 22nd, Washington's actual birthday.
Six years later in 1885, the holiday celebrating The United States' first president was expanded to include all federal offices. It wasn't until January 1st, 1971 with the passing of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that changed Washington's Birthday to a fixed Monday. Part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was the suggestion that the holiday be renamed to President's Day and also include the celebration of Lincoln's birthday which was February 12th. While the inclusive Presidents' Day was not voted into effect, it did change the date it is celebrated, generally the holiday falls between Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays. Other holidays effected by this act were Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. Even though about a dozen states have changed Washington's Birthday to Presidents' Day, the official federal holiday remains Washington's Birthday. It was a push from advertisers in the mid 1980's that popularized Presidents' Day as it is more commonly known now. (Now, who doesn't enjoy a good Presidents' Day Sale?)
As the name suggests, this holiday celebrates The United States' first founding father and president, George Washington. Washington was seen as a unifying force for the country and was unanimously
chosen by The Electoral College. The holiday also acknowledges veterans, in particular those who are awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Washington established this medal of honor while he was commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on August 7th, 1782 from his Newburgh, New York headquarters. Originally called The Badge of Military Merit, it was a heart made of purple cloth awarded to those wounded or killed in action. It is the highest medal that can be awarded and is the oldest still in existence. Today, The Purple Heart medal bears the profile of George Washington as well as a shield of the coat of arms of George Washington. It has also been a long standing tradition to honor Washington's Birthday in the United States Senate by reading George Washington's Farewell Address on his birthday. Beginning in 1862, this practice continues today.
What better way to celebrate this year then to visit 26 Wall Street right here in New York City.
Now the Federal Hall National Memorial, (built in 1842 as the New York Customs House) this was the original site of Federal hall. Built in 1700 as New York City's Hall, Federal Hall served as the first capitol building of the United States of America under the constitution. With many uses over time, Federal Hall also served as the first Congress, Supreme Court and Executive Branch Offices.
Federal hall was also the site of George Washington's inauguration as the first president. To commemorate this historical event, a bronze statue of George Washington stands on a pedestal on the steps of Federal Hall at the approximate site of his inauguration. The statue was created by American sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward in 1882, looking over Wall Street across the street from the New York Stock Exchange.
Hey, what about Lincoln?
Although Lincoln's birthday has never been an official federal holiday, this president is also widely celebrated and during this week in 1861, Lincoln also had a momentous visit to New York.
Travelling from Springfield to Washington, D.C. via train on the way to his first inauguration on March 4th, president-elect Abraham Lincoln met with supporters along the way.
The trip began in the beginning of February with stops in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland before arriving in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration.
Beginning their visit to New York, the Lincoln's first stop was in Upstate New York, travelling on the Hudson River Railroad Company, arriving in New York City on February 19th.
Their stay in New York City began with accommodations at the Astor House and a meeting with William Cullen Bryant, then editor of the New York Evening Post. The Lincoln's were well received in The Big Apple. An estimated 250,000 people watched the eleven car procession arrive at the Astor House, located on the west side of Broadway between Vesey Barclay Streets. Opening in 1836, originally named the Park Hotel, the Astor House was designed by Isaiah Rogers, who had designed the first luxury hotel in the United States. The following day while at The Academy of Music enjoying a new Verdi Opera, the entire cast and audience broke into "The Star Spangled Banner" in honor of their prominent guest. The Lincoln's were also hosted at City Hall's Governor's Room during their stay.
Happy Washington's Birthday!
No matter how you spend this holiday we hope you enjoy your day!
As another important part of the day, be sure not forget to thank and acknowledge our servicemen and women for all they have done and continue to do for our country.
Whether you visit Federal Hall, simply enjoy the three day weekend or perhaps a good sale, we hope we have shed some light on this apostrophe'd holiday!
As always, please share any thoughts, comments or ideas!
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