Presidents Day, held on the third Monday in February, was established to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
To commemorate the federal holiday, here’s a look at five memorable presidential anecdotes from the Miami Valley:
A long distance call to space. During a 1984 visit to Dayton, President Ronald Reagan stopped to make a long distance call. Reagan told the assembled crowd that he “had a phone call he had to take and they could listen in.” The next thing they heard was the president’s voice over a loud speaker saying, “Houston, Houston, this is Dayton.” Reagan was on the phone with the orbiting space shuttle Challenger.
Say cheese. Two years before becoming president, a beardless Abraham Lincoln stopped at a Dayton photographic studio and posed for a portrait before making a speech on the steps of the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Happy anniversary. President Bill Clinton made a stop at the downtown Elder-Beerman store to shop for an anniversary present for his wife, Hillary Clinton. He reportedly bought a heart-shaped piece of crystal.
Honesty in the best policy. Future president John F. Kennedy wore a tuxedo from Price Stores to a Dayton event and returned it with a $105 campaign donation in the pocket. Price Stores returned the money and Kennedy wrote back thanking them for their honesty and included $25 as a reward. A copy of Kennedy’s letter is hanging in Price Stores today.
Comparing the livestock. President Lyndon Johnson, during a 1966 visit to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, wrangled a trio of steers and compared them to Texas livestock. “I think these are better, we don’t have so much good feed to give them,” he said.
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