Monday, February 20, 2017

Washington's Birthday


George Washington, by Gilbert Stuart, +1828AD.

Today, in the State of Georgia, is the holiday of Washington's Birthday, in honor of George Washington of Virginia (22 February 1732 [N.S.]; 11 February 1731 [O.S.]* -14 December 1799AD), first President of the United States. Credited as the "father of his country," he was pivotal in the independence movement and revolution of the colonies that formed the United States, not only in his role as military commander, but as the President who set all of the precedents. His approach was one of prudence and steadiness, and his contributions are most certainly a great part of the longevity and stability of this Republic. [*-N.S.: New Style, or Gregorian date; O.S.: Old Style, or Julian date]

George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, at what is now a National Park Service site: George Washington Birthplace National Monument

His home at Mount Vernon in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington, DC is worth visiting if you find yourself in the area -- it is here that he is buried: Mount Vernon Official Site
Interestingly, his home was named in honor of British Admiral Vernon, under whom Washington's older brother, Lawrence, had served during the War of Jenkins' Ear and at the Battle of Cartegena.

We can leave aside, on this day to honor him, a discussion of his Freemasonry, church attendance habits, and his role in a revolution against his sovereign.

As a side note, George Washington DID say this: "A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies." That in his first address to Congress, on 8 January 1790. cf., Yale Avalon Project: First Address to Congress. Spurious versions of this statement are prevalent about now!

Undoubtedly, folks will refer to today as "Presidents' Day," which it might be in some places, but not in Georgia, for one.

In the Governor's proclamation of state holidays, we find that today, 20 February, is listed as "Washington's Birthday."  Georgia State Holidays, 2017.
Interestingly, the actual observance of the day by state offices comes on 26 December this year.

In Washington's own home state of Virginia, the day is celebrated as "George Washington Day."

Even in United States Code, this day is known as "Washington's Birthday" -- with no hint of "Presidents' Day" in the title.  Here is the US Code itself:

"The following are legal public holidays:
...
Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February."
cf., US Code at Cornell Law

So, no Presidents' Day in Georgia or Virginia, even looking to the code of this Federal Republic.

Live well!

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