New York English Academy Rookie blog

Presidents’ Day February 3, 2016

In the US, the third Monday in February is a national holiday dedicated to the memory of two distinguished American leaders – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Both of these presidents lead the country during its most critical years. George Washington secured a victory over the British colonizers, and was the first president of the United States (1789-1797). Abraham Lincoln, during his presidency (1861-1865), held the country together through the Civil War and issued The Emancipation Proclamation which abolished slavery in the South.


Presidents’ Day in the United States is not celebrated with bright colorful parades and fireworks. It is a day to think and honor the history of the country. Schoolchildren might put on performances with historical themes  It is also a day when polls of the most admired presidents are often published. Lincoln and Washington are always near the top of those lists.

   Washington is remembered not only for his political and military achievements, but also his honesty. A famous story goes that when Washington was six years old, he was given a small toy hatchet as a gift. While playing in the garden with it, he accidentally damaged his father’s favorite cherry tree. When his father found out, he got very angry and asked George who did it. In spite of his fear of punishment, young George replied: “I cannot tell a lie…I did cut it with my hatchet.” Thus, people say the President already showed a good conscience at an early age and he confirmed that with great deeds throughout his whole life. Today Americans will sometimes serve cake in the form of a cherry tree on Presidents Day.

Abraham Lincoln was not only a brilliant politician, but also had an amazing sense of humor. He was once asked why he polishes his own boots. To which the President replied, “Whose boots did you think I [polished]?”

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