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US Celebrates Presidents' Day

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Millions of workers across the United States are getting the day off Monday as part of the annual observance of the Presidents' Day holiday.

It first became a federal holiday in 1879 to celebrate the February 22 birthday of George Washington, the first U.S. president. Nearly a century later, in 1968, Congress passed a law that shifted the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to predetermined Mondays, in order to give workers three consecutive days off.

Retailers take advantage of the holiday - held on the third Monday in February - to promote sales and price cuts on their products.



Although the day is still officially known as Washington's Birthday, it has evolved into Presidents' Day to celebrate both Washington's birthday and that of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president whose birthday falls on February 12. Lincoln's birthday was never an official federal holiday, although many states celebrated the day. Presidents' Day is now widely viewed as a day to celebrate all presidents past and present.

The current U.S. president, Barack Obama, spent part of the holiday weekend on Sunday playing golf at a private course in Florida with Tiger Woods, the world's second-ranked golfer and holder of 14 major titles.

Feature Story

FILE - President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland en route to Southeast Asia, November 17, 2012.

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