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When Is Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, was also the third President of the United States, one who served two election terms, from 1801-1809, and actively pursued new lands for American citizens during the Louisiana Territory disputes of the early 1800’s. Born in 1743, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is celebrated every year on April 13th.

The first official celebration honoring the birthday of one of our greatest presidents occurred on April 13th in 1830. A fine dinner was held for a Congressional delegation and attended by President Andrew Jackson and other notable leaders. Some of those who had designed the event had intended to use it as an opportunity to profess their political views, but President Jackson but a terse end to such machinations when he rose to propose a toast and said, “Our Federal Union: It must and shall be preserved.” Quiet dissention involving state’s rights ultimately caused all but thirty members in attendance to leave the room, and such was Jefferson’s first national holiday celebrated. In most states today, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is a legal holiday while in others it is not.

In the early day of the 20th century, Democrats mostly observed the day, but these days, a non-political observance of the day is celebrated in many states, including Virginia, and most especially at the University of Virginia, which Thomas Jefferson founded in 1819. Opening to students in 1825, it was the first university in the United States to offer a full education to students, and was founded around a library rather than a church. His home in Monticello, Virginia, is the site of pomp and ceremonies every year to celebrate the anniversary of his birth and Americans from around the country make a visit to his home every year to honor his memory.

Known as the silent member of Congress during the days of America’s birth, Thomas Jefferson preferred to express his views with his pen rather than his voice. As a young man of only 33 years old, he drafted our American Declaration of Independence and also wrote a bill that established American rights to religious freedom in 1786. A scholar at heart, Thomas Jefferson admired education and sought to provide educational opportunities for all people, and many of his students went on to become famous American’s in their own right, including American poet Edgar Allen Poe.

His face is familiar to every American who touches a nickel, upon whose surface Jefferson’s strong features are imprinted. His face is also forever immortalized in the huge carvings on Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, along with three other great presidents, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Battleships are named after him, as are a myriad of libraries and buildings, streets and town squares. Children in schools memorize his preamble to the Declaration of Independence every year, and learn of his presidency and deeds. His writings are voluminous and highly valued, as are his political writings, some of which are displayed in the Smithsonian as well as the Library of Congress. Few presidents have left such an impact or a legacy of the principles of American freedoms as has Thomas Jefferson, and as such, he remains a beloved figure in American history.

Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826, and his epitaph reads, at his own insistence, “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and the father of the University of Virginia.”

Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is honored every year, an occasion when all Americans can recognize the spirit of freedom and loyalty that was personified by him. It was Jefferson’s writings that founded our nation, and as such, he will be remembered for all time as one of our greatest Founding Fathers.

When Is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

The United States of America has few presidents that are more beloved and admired than Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president. There’s something about the tall, homely man that evokes in people the sense that Lincoln was a genuinely gentle man, one who cared deeply for his country and was distraught at the Civil War that broke out during his years of presidency.

The first observation of Lincoln’s birthday was held in 1866. Washington D.C. was determined to remember their assassinated president with speeches and memorial services that honored the man and what he stood for. Attended by President Johnson, his Cabinet members, as well as senators and legislators from nearly every state in the Union, the event was well represented for this first memorial address offered in the name of the beloved president. The anniversary of Lincoln’s birth on February 12th was designated as the day to honor his memory and flags throughout the capitol and the nation flew at half-staff. That first memorial was a somber affair, an occasion that honored his birth as well as periods of silence marking his sudden and violent death.

Lincoln took the presidential office in March of 1861, and the War Between the States broke out about a month later, plunging the country into a period of darkness that has never been repeated. Lincoln was re-elected to the presidency in 1864, but in April of 1865, just as the war came to an end, he was shot at Ford’s Theatre while watching a play. He died the following morning, and his death plunged the nation into mourning, both in the North and the South. Upon his death, his secretary of war stated, “He now belongs to the ages.”

By 1909, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, Lincoln’s name and memory had become an American favorite, and Americans revered and honored his name more than any other president in history to date. Memorial tablets were placed at Lincoln’s birthplace in Springfield, Illinois, which is a National and Historical Landmark to this day. As each year passed, millions of Americans celebrated the life of the president who sought to hold a divided nation together, and who died as a result of that dedication. Lincoln’s name made a great impact on other countries around the world as well, and many nations joined to honor his memory throughout the world.

In 1910, a bill was passed by Congress to erect a National Monument in Washington D.C. in honor of Lincoln, and thus began building and construction plans for the Lincoln Memorial that is visited by millions of people every year, not only by Americans, but world travelers as well. The monument was completed in 1922. Lincoln’s portrait from 1864 has been used on the five-dollar bill in American for generations.

Schools across the nation observe and celebrate Lincoln’s birthday every year. Children of all ages learn one of Lincoln’s most famous and heartfelt speeches, the Gettysburg Address, given after a horrific battle that cost the lives of thousands of Americans fighting amongst themselves. Lincoln’s legacy urges Americans today to stand united, as he stated, “A house divided amongst itself cannot stand” and to this day, Americans strive to follow his lead and example. As one of the country’s favorite presidents, the anniversary of his birthday, celebrated every February 12th, is a special occasion in states around the nation, celebrated with patriotic parties, speeches and events. Abraham taught all Americans that even those who come from humble beginnings can strive and reach any goals they set for themselves, even if it includes reaching the greatest position in the country, as President of the United States.
During his second Inaugural address, Lincoln spoke words that endure to this day when he said, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”