President's Day  (February 17, 2003) ---  USA vs. Japan (021403)

USA vs. Japan
The USA has Presidentís Day while Japan has the Emperorís Birthday as their national holiday.  Interestingly, there is no Prime Ministerís day even though the Prime Minister has almost all of the power in terms of politics since the end of WWII.  

Who will get this day off?
Most non-critical federal workers, state workers, and school children will have this day off.  Also, the US stock market and most banks are closed since there wonít be any money transactions on this day.  However, many private company workers will still have to work on this day. 

Presidentís Day Sale
Like
the Day-after-Thanksgiving shopping, you may notice by a lot of ads in newspaper that tell ďPresidentís Day SaleĒ is going on.  This sales event will start on this Wed. or Thurs. and run through next Mon., Presidentís Day.  Retailers can get good sales by having a ďPresidentís Day SaleĒ, but the sales are not as good as the Day-after-Thanksgiving shopping.

History

In place of President's Day, the United States used to have two national holidays. One was for celebrating George Washington's birthday (February 22) and the other was for Abraham Lincoln's birthday (February 12). In 1971, President Richard Nixon decided to combine these two federal holidays into one holiday. He declared the 3rd Monday in February to be "President's day".  This day was for honoring all past presidents in the United States. Even though President Richard Nixon issued this proclamation, the Federal statute of the US still designates this day as Washingtonís Birthday. 

George Washington, the first president of the United States is called the father of our country. He fought for US independence from England and led the US solders against the British forces (the American Revolution, 1763-1783). After the United States gained independence, the Electoral College unanimously elected George Washington as president. Washingtonís picture is now on the quarter, the one dollar bill, and on some stamps.  Washington, D.C.  *)  and the state of Washington **)

Abraham Lincoln is probably best remembered for fighting to free the slaves as one union. The civil war (1861-1865 - the North (the Union ) vs. the South (Confederacy)) began shortly after he was elected the 16th president. Lincoln succeeded in winning the war, keeping the states together, and getting the slaves of the southern states freed. However, his 2nd term as president had a tragic end. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, an actor who didnít agree with Lincolnís political opinions while attending a play at the Fordís Theater in Washington, D.C.  Lincolnís picture is now on the penny, the five-dollar bill, and on a stamp. 

Sources:
 < http://www.usis.usemb.se/Holidays/celebrate/presiden.html >
For easy reading < http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/activity/presidentsday/index.html  >
 
*) < http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/RefArticle.aspx?refid=761576320&pn=1#s1  >  
**) < http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0108286.html >

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