Issues Regarding Lincoln’s Birthday
Lincoln’s Birthday is considered to be a separate legal holiday only in a few states, such as New York, Missouri, Illinois, and Connecticut. Other states celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday unofficially as a part of so-called Presidents Day, in reality, Washington’s Birthday, which is the only federal holiday in the USA.
In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act designated the date for the legal Washington’s Birthday holiday, which is the third Monday in February. Some reformers suggested changing the name of the holiday into Presidents Day in order to honor both Presidents Washington and Lincoln. However, this suggestion had never become official.
Although the name “Presidents Day” has never been accepted by Congress, it has been supported by citizens of the USA and is widely used in all spheres of social life, media, and advertising. This, though, creates some difficulties in distinguishing the difference between Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, and Presidents Day (officially non-existent).
Lincoln’s Birthday, which is celebrated on February 12, is legally observed in several mentioned above states and is followed by a wreath-laying ceremony and reading of the Gettysburg Address at the famous Lincoln Memorials, the most famous of which is situated in Washington DC. There are concerts specially prepared for this day. The biggest one took place in 2009 on the Lincoln’s Bicentenary.
Lincoln’s Birthday history dates back to the day when the famous President was born – February 12, 1809. in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Lincoln devoted his life to advocacy and politics. Moreover, he was a great president known as Honest Abe and Great Emancipator, who modernized the country and gave a push to America’s Reconstruction. After assassination on April 1865 by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington DC on Good Friday, Lincoln died physically but never became dead in memories of grateful countrymen.
The earliest celebrations of honor of Lincoln’s birthday were held in 1874, in Buffalo, New York by Julius Francis, a person who was struggling for the proclamation of Lincoln’s Birthday as a federal holiday and was organizing ceremonies up to his own death in 1881.
Despite endless attempts to make Lincoln’s Birthday a separate national holiday, the Congress didn’t approve any of them. Even the all-known Presidents Day, celebrated on the third Monday in February, which occurs between February 15 and February 21 and is aimed to recognize both presidents never simplified the problem as it has always been regarded to Washington’s birthday, used to be celebrated since late 18th century, while George Washington was still alive.
Although Lincoln’s Birthday remained legal federal holiday only in Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, and New York and is not a stand-alone holiday in other states, it is combined with the honoring of President George Washington’s Birthday, more know as Presidents Day. No matter what, Americans continue to hold the memory of Lincoln in high respect.