Switch to Desktop Site
 
 

Presidents' Day 2013: How a Senate tradition keeps George Washington’s words alive

Every year since 1896, a senator has been selected to read George Washington’s Farewell Address during legislative session. His warnings often are pertinent.

Image

George Washington's Farewell Address, written in his own hand, is displayed at the New York State Museum in Albany, N.Y.

Mike Groll/AP

About these ads

No matter how Americans choose to celebrate Presidents’ Day – whether cashing in on big sales or participating in family outings – the third Monday in February was traditionally intended as a day to celebrate the birth of President George Washington and honor his legacy.

In addition to the three-day weekend, the US Senate has its own custom for honoring America’s first president: Every year since 1896, a senator has been selected to read Washington’s Farewell Address during legislative session.

On Sept. 19, 1796, Washington proclaimed to his “Friends and Fellow-Citizens” that he intended to retire after his second term, setting the precedent for two-term limits. He also used the occasion to bestow on the nation his vision for enduring democracy.

 
Next

Page 1 of 5

Share