Lufkin students assess misnomer about 'Presidents Day'

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Contrary to popular belief, today is not Presidents Day. Federal law requires the third Monday of February to be called "Washington's Birthday."

Even then, it's actually not the day he was born. That would be February 11th.

Confused yet?  Imagine what it's like for school kids trying to sort through it all. Clearing the confusion about Presidents Day can get complicated. Even though George Washington and Abe Lincoln's birthday's fall in the same month, they don't share the federal holiday.

Just the same, teachers are profiling all the men who shaped our nation.

"Helps with the sense of identity when people know something of their history and their background," said Brent Rich, 7th grade Texas history teacher at Lufkin Middle School.

In the spirit of our first president, students of all ages are learning what makes a great leader.

"Abraham Lincoln [is my favorite] because he freed slaves," said college student Logan Taylor.

"Probably FDR because he brought us out of crisis," said college student Chris Presidge.

"Mr. George Bush because he did all he could for our country," said 3rd grader Blayre Brent.

"Barack Obama, because he's helping people find jobs," said 3rd grader Amiracle McMillian.

Brandon Elementary librarian Pollienne Smith is reading to Lufkin students about monumental moments in American history.

"Because its so long ago and not part of their personal history that they know where we came from and how we got the freedoms we have today," she said.

Educators aren't the only ones recognizing the importance of our forefathers.

Students are learning how individuals can have a lasting effect on the future of an entire nation. "If we don't know where we've been we can't figure out where we're going," Taylor said.

According to the National Archives, Washington's birthday didn't become a legal holiday until 1879. Ironically, setting it on the third Monday guaranteed it would never fall on Washington's actual birthday.

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