On Monday, February 16, 2009, our nation celebrated some of our most significant historical heroes and America’s unique political traditions when we commemorate President’s Day. The State of Ohio has made many important contributions to our country and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than the American Presidency. Ohio is known as the “Mother of Presidents” because eight of our nation’s 44 presidents are from the Buckeye State.
The history of President’s Day dates back in some ways to the very earliest days of American history. President George Washington enjoyed an extraordinarily high level of respect and affection from his countrymen dating back to his heroic actions in the Revolutionary War against the British. President Washington’s birthday, February 22, was considered a significant occasion even before Ohio’s own President Rutherford B. Hayes made it one of America’s first recognized holidays in 1879. Over time, President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday of February 12 also came to be a celebrated occasion. In 1968, legislation was enacted that made the third Monday in February a federal holiday known as President’s Day.
The eight Ohio Presidents are: William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding. President Harrison, the nation’s ninth President, is the only one of the eight who was not actually born in the Buckeye State though he resided much of his life in Tipp City.
This year’s 2009 “We, the People” calendar, published by the United States Capitol Historical Society, celebrates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and includes daily factoids for each day of the year 1809. My office still has a limited supply of those collectible calendars available at no cost to constituents of Ohio’s 3rd congressional district. If you would like to receive a complimentary 2009 “We, the People” calendar, please contact my Dayton office at 937-225-2843.
As we watched this year’s historic transition from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, the country marveled at the legacy of the U.S. Presidency and the importance of the people chose to lead as President. President’s Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on our country’s history and on the people who have served our nation as its President.