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Something You Might Not Have Known: President’s Day

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Most people know President’s Day as a fun day off from work or school and the chance to grab bargains at retail stores, but there is a lot to know about President’s Day and the presidents we honor on the third Monday in February.

President’s Day is officially known as Washington’s birthday even though it does not fall on his actual birthday. Over the years, it evolved to include Lincoln’s birthday, but it does not fall on Lincoln’s birthday either. Starting in the 1980s, advertisers saw an opportunity, and the holiday became colloquially known as President’s Day in honor of all who served as presidents.

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Here are some fun facts about President’s Day and the men who have served as POTUS. Some of these facts presented are rather weird:

In many states, cherry pie is traditionally served, observing the myth that Washington cut down a cherry tree as a boy and made the famous declaration, “I cannot tell a lie, I did it!”

Founding Fathers and Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were friends who became enemies who became friends. They both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” He did not know Jefferson had died 5 hours earlier.

John Quincy Adams enjoyed swimming nude in the Potomac River, giving the reporters a full-frontal view.

Andrew Jackson did not like people speaking poorly about his wife and was involved in as many as 100 duels, mainly over people calling his wife a bigamist. Jackson was shot in the chest in 1806, a wound that never healed properly, and he was shot in the arm in 1813 in a bar fight with, of all people, a man who would become a U.S. senator seven years later.

Millard Filmore married his grade school teacher…He was hot for teacher!

James Buchanon was a lifelong bachelor and was the only unmarried president to serve. Rumors abound that he and Senator William Rufus King were lovers as they lived together for ten years. Andrew Jackson was alleged to call the pair “Miss Nancy and Aunt Fancy.”

Andrew Johnson was once a tailor and made all the suits he wore as president.

Former Civil War General and President Ulysses S. Grant got sick at the sight of blood.

Woodrow Wilson suffered a series of strokes in office, leaving him nearly incapacitated. His wife Edith virtually ran the government leading to her nickname as the “Presidentress.”

Calvin Cooledge was known for his economy of words. A lady once told the president that she made a bet with a friend that she could get him to say more than two words. His response was, “You lose.” Ouch!

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Most presidents bring their dogs to the White House. Herbert Hoover brought his two alligators.

Dwight Eisenhower loved the Augusta National but hated one particular loblolly pine tree that hindered his game. In a meeting, Eisenhower motioned to remove the tree. Rather than allow a vote that would likely embarrass the president, Chairman Clifford Roberts hastily adjourned the meeting. Eisenhower’s tree was destroyed in the 2014 ice storm.

John F. Kennedy is known for his serial womanizing, and he once courted Inga Marie Arvad, a journalist and purported Nazi spy. JFK’s father Joe put the kibosh on the relationship.

Lyndon B. Johnson would show his dominance over reporters, congressmen and senators alike by out whipping his large “member,” as they say in romance novels, which he had nicknamed “Jumbo.” This was called “the Johnson treatment.” Perhaps that is why men today refer to their members as their “Johnsons.”

Gerald Ford is the only vice-president and president to never be elected to either office.

Ronald Reagan was known to consult an astrologist before making important decisions.

We all know what Bill Clinton did in office, but the other items on the list are things you might not have known!

Scott Hudson is the Editorial Page Editor of The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected]

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