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Who was Abraham Lincoln?
The Nation's Holidays and Historic Anniversaries
“A Nation's Holidays are the best index to its
I. Holidays generally observed On these days business is commonly suspended, and there is usually some form of public observation. Jan. 1. New Year's Day-All States Oct. 12. Columbus Day Ala., except Kansas.
Ariz., Ark., Cal., Colo., Conn., Jan. 19. Lee's Birthday Ala., Del., Idaho, lll., Ind., Ky., Mass.,
Ark., Fla., Ga., N.C., S.C., and Va. Md., Me. (School Holiday), Mich., (called Lee-Jackson Day).
Mo, Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., Feb. 12. Lincoln's Birthday N.J., N.Mex., NY, O., Okla.,
Ariz., Cal., Colo., Conn., Del., Ore., Pa., R.I., Tex., Vt., Wash.,
All States except Ala., Ark., Feb. 22. Washington's Birthday Conn., D.C., Ga., Idaho, Kans., All States.
Ky., Mass., Miss., Neb., N.Mex., March 4. (1917, and every fourth N.C., Ohio, Utah, and Vt.
year thereafter) — Inauguration Nov. 27 (last Thursday). Thanks
Day District of Columbia. giving Day - All States. April 19. Patriots' Day — Maine Dec. 25. Christmas Day All and Massachusetts.
Day — All States except Ala., Maine, Neb., N.Dak., R.I., Utah,
Special Local Holidays. In some July 4. Independence Day - All States, State Election Day, PriStates.
mary Election Day, etc., are also Sept. — (first Monday). – Labor observed as holidays.
Day - All States.
There are several other holidays, more or less local in character, observed in certain of the States.
57. New Year's Day - January 1.
“Let the American youth never forget that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils and sufferings and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.
“The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its compartments are beautiful as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order; and its defences are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly or corruption or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE.
“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest; and when the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people in order to betray them." - Joseph Story.
58. Washington's Birthday – February 22.
George Washington was born in Virginia, February 22, 1732. He received an elementary-school education, and then began life as a surveyor.
When the French and Indian wars broke out, he commanded the Virginia troops of the English colonists. His career as an Indian fighter led to his election to the Virginia Legislature. On July 2, 1775, a few days after the battle of Bunker Hill, Washington was placed in command of the American army, and served as commander-in-chief throughout the war of the Revolution. After peace was made with England in 1783, Washington resigned his command and retired to Mount Vernon, his famous country estate in Virginia. In 1787, he was chosen President of the Constitutional Convention. In 1789, Washington was elected, without opposition, the first President of the United States. He was unanimously reëlected in 1793. He declined a third term in 1796. He died in 1799, shortly after retiring to private life at Mount Vernon. (Refer to [ 79.)
“What is it to be an American? ... Is it not to believe in America and in the American people? Is it not to have an abiding and moving faith in the future and in the destiny of America? — something above and beyond the patriotism and love which every man whose soul is not dead within him feels for the land of his birth? Is it not to be national and not sectional, independent and not colonial? Is it not to have a high conception of what this great new country should be, and to follow out that ideal with loyalty and truth?
“Has any man in our history fulfilled these conditions more perfectly and completely than George Washington? Has any man ever lived who served the American people more faithfully, or with a higher and truer conception of the destiny and possibilities of the country?” — Henry Cabot Lodge. .
59. Memorial Day — May 30.
During the years 1861–1865 the Civil War between the Northern and Southern States of the United States was fought. (1 49.) This war has now long been over and the passions which it raised have been buried. The courage and heroic deeds of both sides are recognized as the common property of us all, the heritage and the glory of a prosperous and patriotic people.
Memorial Day is the occasion for decorating the graves of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. It is therefore sometimes called “Decoration Day.”
“Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays.
“The observance is unmarked by that disorder and confusion common enough with our people in their holiday moods. The earlier sorrow has faded out of the hour, leaving a softened solemnity. It quickly ceased to be simply a local commemoration.
“There is a beautiful significance in the fact that, two years after the close of the war, the women of Columbus, Mississippi, laid their offerings alike on Northern and Southern graves. When all is said, the great Nation has but one heart." - Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
(Read Finch’s The Blue and the Gray.)
60. Independence Day - July 4.
“On the Fourth Day of July, 1776, the representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, declared that 'these Colonies are, and ought to be, free and independent States.'...
“This anniversary animates and gladdens all American hearts. On other days of the year we may be party men, indulging in controversies more or less important to the public good. We may have likes and dislikes, and we may maintain our political differences, often with warm, and sometimes with angry feelings. But to-day we are Americans all; and all, nothing but Americans.
“Every man's heart swells within him. Every man's port and bearing becomes somewhat more proud and lofty as he remembers that the great inheritance of Liberty is still his, - his, undiminished and unimpaired; his, in all its original glory; his to enjoy, his to protect, his to transmit to future generations." Daniel Webster.
(Refer to 1 46. Read the Declaration of Independence, 53.)
61. Labor Day - September –
The first Monday in September is the only holiday established by Act of Congress. In 1894 a bill was passed making it a legal public holiday, and naming it "Labor's Holiday."
"Labor is one of the great elements of society — the great substantial interest on which we all stand. Not feudal service, or predial toil, or the irksome drudgery by one race of mankind subjected to another, but labor, intelligent, manly, independent, thinking and acting for itself, earning its own wages, accumulating those wages into capital, educating childhood, maintaining worship, claiming the right of elective franchise, and helping to uphold the great fabric of the State. That is American labor, and all my sympathies are with it.” – Daniel Webster.
62. Columbus Day - October 12.
After the death of Columbus, the real greatness of his deed came to be understood. Men then realized that he had overcome obstacles supposed by others to be insurmountable; and that in breaking the barriers of superstition and fear, he had not only doubled the size of the known world, but had set before mankind a splendid example of courage and perseverance. From the time of Columbus to the present, America has always attracted men who possess pluck, ambition, and brains. (Refer to | 43. Read Moores' Life of Columbus, and Miller's, Lowell's, and Clough's poems, each entitled “Columbus.”)
63. Thanksgiving Day - November
The first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated by the English colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621, after the gathering of their first harvest. In later years, the settlers in various other colonies occasionally set aside a day of thanksgiving for unusual prosperity, or for relief from adversity. In New England, after the Revolution, there came to be one regular annual observation of a day for this purpose. The first national day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President Washington in 1795. The custom did not become a national one until after the Civil War, when our country had come to a new sense of unity. For nearly sixty years past, it has been the custom for the President to issue an annual proclamation appointing the last Thursday in the month of November as a day of thanks .and praise to God. Similar proclamations are issued by the governors of the several States.
On November 11, 1918, there was signed the armistice bringing to an end the Great War which had been raging since 1914. The rejoicing felt by the Nation at the victorious end of the war was reflected in President Wilson's Thanksgiving Proclamation which was in part as follows:
“It has long been our custom to turn in the Autumn of the year in praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for His many blessings and mercies to us as a nation. This year we have special and moving cause to be grateful and to rejoice. God has in his good pleasure given us peace.
It has not come as a mere cessation of arms, a relief from the strain and tragedy of war. It has come as a great triumph of Right. Complete victory has brought us, not peace alone, but the confident promise of a new day as well, in which justice shall replace force and jealous intrigue among the nations. Our gallant armies have participated in a triumph which is not marred or stained by any purpose of selfish aggression. righteous cause they have won immortal glory and have nobly served their nation in serving mankind. God has indeed been gracious. We have cause for such rejoicing as revives and strengthens in us all the best traditions of our national history. A new day shines about us, in which our hearts take new courage and look forward with new hope to new and greater duties.
“While we render thanks for these things, let us not forget to seek the Divine guidance in the performance of those duties, and Divine mercy and forgiveness for all errors of act or purpose, and pray that in all that we do we shall strengthen the ties of friend