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Presidents Day

Observance honors commanders in chief

Collage of stamps showing John F. Kennedy and George H.W. Bush
The two presidents most recently featured on stamps are John F. Kennedy (2017) and George H.W. Bush (2019).

This year, Presidents Day is Monday, Feb. 17.

The annual observance honoring U.S. presidents began with celebrations commemorating George Washington during the early 19th century. After Washington’s death in 1799, his birthday was celebrated informally across the young nation.

In 1879, Congress declared Feb. 22 — Washington’s birthday — a federal holiday.

A 1968 law moved the Washington’s Birthday holiday to the third Monday of each February.

With the holiday no longer attached to the former president’s date of birth, the day came to symbolize the recognition of a growing list of presidents.

Today, the date is widely accepted as an occasion to celebrate all U.S. commanders in chief.

In addition to observing Presidents Day, the Postal Service salutes presidents through its stamp program.

Two presidents have been featured on stamps in recent years: John F. Kennedy, the 35th president, who served from 1961-1963 and was honored with a stamp in 2017, and George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, who served from 1989-1993 and was honored with a stamp last year.

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