Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22). In 1971 President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday, the Presidents' Day, to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February, honoring all past presidents of the United States of America.
GEORGE WASHINGTON (February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799). Early in his life George Washington became an experienced surveyor. Following these years, he fought in the French and Indian War. After the war he returned to Mount Vernon in 1758, married Martha Dandridge in 1759, and became a planter. That same year he became involved in politics when he was elected representative to the Virginia House of Burgesses. He was a representative until 1774 when he became a delegate to the Continental Congress. In May of 1775 George Washington was appointed Commander of the American army during the Revolution. He was the first President, (1789 1797) governing the 13 states.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (February 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865). Abe Lincoln was born into a poor family and had little formal schooling. He basically taught himself to read and write and walked long distances to borrow books. He failed in early business and political ventures, yet became President in 1861 and guided the Union through the Civil War. He shaped his own character and education as was evident in the simple language he used in his speeches. His famous Gettysburg Address was delivered in 1863. LincGln was assassinated on April 15, 1865 during a performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington just a few days after General Robert E. Lee and his army surrendered.