Every year, on the third Monday in February, the United States takes a day to celebrate our nation’s presidents. Schools are closed, and many businesses shut down for the day as well in order to give Americans a chance to rest and reflect on the presidents who have kept our country safe, protected us from hardship, and led our nation through times of war and peace.
This President’s Day, we’re celebrating by learning a little more about the holiday and some of the presidents who served in the military. We’re also offering a special 20% discount on ALL patches now through Feb 22nd. Read on to learn more about our patches and how you can snag this great deal!
A Brief History of President’s Day
To understand how President’s Day came to be, we need to travel back to the 1870s. George Washington was rightfully recognized as one of the most important people in U.S. history, and his birthday, February 22, 1732, had long been celebrated by the citizens of the newly-formed United States of America. Even events like the centennial of his birth in 1832 and the construction of the Washing Monument were celebrated across the country.
All of the recognition was, however, relatively unofficial. People celebrated. But there was nothing on the books declaring Washington’s birthday a national holiday. But that all changed in 1979 when Arkansas Senator Stephen Wallace Dorsey proposed the day be marked as a federal holiday, and President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. Washington’s Birthday was initially only celebrated by government offices in Washington D.C., but in 1885, the observance expanded to include all federal offices.
Presidents’ Day, as we know it today, didn’t become a topic of conversation until 1951, when the President’s Day National Committee was formed. Several acts, including the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, were proposed between 1951 and 1968 in an attempt to honor all past presidents by changing the name of the holiday from “Washington’s Birthday” to “President’s Day.” It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, however, that the term “President’s Day” became widely used.
President’s Day Celebrations and Traditions
While every American celebrates President’s Day in their own way, there are a few traditions and celebrations that have been observed for many years. As mentioned above, all federal and state offices are closed on President’s Day, as well as banks, schools, and a vast array of private businesses. Many communities celebrate President’s Day with a parade or festival, and Mount Vernon, Washington’s former home, hosts birthday celebrations all week long.
While President’s Day is meant to honor all U.S. presidents, it is also a tribute to the fact that George Washington was responsible for the first military badge of merit for soldiers. The Purple Heart, which was revived in 1932 and is still given today, still bears George Washington’s image and is awarded to soldiers who have been injured in battle.
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Presidents Who Served in the Military
We can’t talk about President’s Day without discussing some of our country’s most famous veterans. Many of our nation’s past presidents have served in the military in some capacity. This President’s Day, we’d like to honor our presidents by recognizing some of those who served in the military and fought to protect our great nation.
President George Washington served from 1789 to 1797. By the time he was just 23, he was responsible for all of the trips in Virginia before becoming the Major General and the Continental Army’s Commander-in-Chief during the Revolutionary War.
Andrew Jackson was elected as the seventh U.S. president. He was a Major General in the U.S. Army, Volunteer Army, and Tennessee Militia, which, over time, had earned him the nickname “Old Hickory.”
Taylor was committed to a lifelong military career and served from 1808-1849. He climbed the ranks of the Army throughout the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, and the Second Seminole War, before serving as president for a year from 1849-1850.
Franklin Pierce served from 1853 to 1857 and was heavily involved in the Mexican-American War. Though he was Brigadier General who’d won many victories, a horse-related injury prevented him from fighting in the war’s final battle at Chapultepec.
Though Lincoln is best known for his leadership role in ending slavery by signing the Emancipation Proclamation, many don’t know that he spent a fair share of 1832 as the captain of the Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War.
Ulysses S. Grant
Prior to his presidency, Grant attended the U.S. Service Academy and fought in the Mexican-American War. He did, of course, also play a prominent role in the Civil War before serving as president from 1869 to 1877.
Teddy Roosevelt was always passionate about politics but left the political world briefly in 1898 to start the Rough Riders. This volunteer cavalry was a huge fighting force during the Spanish-American War and led to Roosevelt becoming a colonel and, later, being posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Harry S. Truman
Truman served in the Army from 1919 to 1945. He started as a colonel in the Officer Reserve Corps before becoming a Battery D captain in France during World War I.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower graduated from West Point as a second lieutenant. By 1944, he’d become a 5-star rank Army general and would go on to serve as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Supreme Allied Commander.
John F. Kennedy
Kennedy joined the Navy and served in WWII. He was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart for his efforts to save survivors from a Japanese warship. An injury resulted in him leaving the service, but not before he reached the rank of lieutenant.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Johnson served in the Navy and was actually on active duty as lieutenant commander three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the years afterward, he became a Navy Reserve commander before retiring from service in 1964.
Carter served two years of surface ship duty in WWII and eventually worked his way up in the ranks to become a lieutenant. Later, he went on to work on nuclear-powered submarines until 1953.
George H. W. Bush
Bush joined the Navy at 18 and would soon become the youngest pilot of all time. He flew 58 combat missions during WWII before reaching the rank of lieutenant. He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after he flew to bomb an enemy radio site and was gunned down in the Pacific Ocean.
Whether you’re looking to honor your favorite president for President’s Day 2023 or are simply looking for a gift for a loved one, we’ve got a wide variety of patches from all branches of the military, as well as specialty patches like the USS Thomas Jefferson Patch, USS Lyndon B. Johnson DDG-1002 Patch, and CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt Patch. Click here to browse our inventory to find the perfect patch, or patches, for you!
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