Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February Presidential Birthdays

There are four presidents whose birthdays in February make up a historic lineup. They include two of the presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for whom there are major monuments in Washington, D.C., and whose faces are sculpted into the side of South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore.

The bicentennial of Lincoln’s birthday, on Feb. 12, 1809, will be marked on Thursday. Lincoln, the 16th president, served from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865 at age 56.

Washington, the nation’s first president, was born on Feb. 22, 1732, making this year the 277th anniversary of his birth. He served as president from 1789 until 1797, and died in December 1799 at age 67.

The other successful February-born president was the 40th, Ronald Reagan, who served from 1981 to 1989 and is regarded by many Republicans as their most significant leader of the modern era. Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911 and died in June 2004 at age 93.

The fourth February-born president made history, too, but for the wrong reason. William Henry Harrison was born Feb. 9, 1773, and died at age 68 on April 4, 1841 — exactly one month after he was sworn in as the ninth president of the United States. Harrison has since held the enduring record as the president with the shortest tenure in office.

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