Monthly Topics - Feb 2018
The most famous weather predictor in the country is a groundhog that lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, affectionately known as “Phil” to all his friends and loved ones. Watch him this Groundhog’s Day. Will he see his shadow or not? Is spring right around the corner or must we endure several more weeks of winter? Tune in to Phil. He’s got the answers.
Did you know? While 75% of chocolate purchases are made by women all year long, during the days and minutes before Valentine’s Day, 75% of the chocolate purchases are made by men. Over $1billion of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day.
Be My Valentine
Valentine’s Day is a special day for everyone, not just couples. Remember to tell all your friends and loved ones how much they mean to you. Ask someone to “be your valentine.” You’ll probably make their day.
(Third Monday in February)
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 third Monday of February, honoring all past presidents of the United States of America.
Quotations from Lincoln
President’s Day - February 19th
- “...As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy”. - Letter, August 1858
- “If we do not make common cause to save the good old ship of the Union on this voyage, nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage.” Speech, Cleveland, Ohio, February 15, 1861
The White House
While in office, George Washington held a contest for the best architectural design of a “President’s Palace.” Among the competitors was Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and an architect. His design was entered anonymously, sighed only with the initials “A. Z.” It didn’t win. An Irish architect named James Hoban won $500, a piece of land, and of course the honor of having his plans used in the final design.
Americans called it the “President’s House” because the word “palace” reminded them of the monarchy that they recently broke away from. The official name was the “Executive Mansion” from 1818-1902. Today it is called simply “The White House.” Some historians say that people began calling it the White House because it was painted white after being restored after the British had burned it in 1812. Another legend is that George Washington named it after his wife’s house in the state of Virginia.
The first president never had the chance to stay there. Washington died on December 14, 1799, one year before the White House was completed during the Presidency of John Adams. In 1806, Thomas Jefferson had another chance at designing the White House when he moved in as third President. Much of the house and Jefferson’s additions were destroyed in the War of 1812. When it was rebuilt, however, James Hoban supervised the work. The White House was redecorated in 1881 and again in 1902 by the current presidents, and each change reflected the style of the times. It was completely renovated in 1949 when Harry S. Truman was President.
In 1960 when John Kennedy became President, his wife Jacqueline redecorated the White House to display the beauty of American furnishings and art. The gardens outside were beautified and enlarged. Since then the presidents’ wives have continued to maintain their home in a tasteful style.
Captain! My Captain!
As American poet Walt Whitman, along with the rest of the country, mourned the death of Abraham Lincoln. He wrote this poem in his honor
O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! Heart! Heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! Dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.