Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Say NO to Presidents' Day

February is upon us - and that means "Presidents' Day" is coming. Let me make something abundantly clear for everyone. I hate and despise "Presidents' Day." That's right. I hate it. Why, you ask?

Well, don't get me wrong. I love holidays. And I don't hate the American presidency. In fact, having a day each year in which we encourage people to learn more about our Presidents is a good thing.

***To test your knowledge on U.S. Presidents, try this quiz.

What I hate about "Presidents' Day" is the way in which this worthless holiday has evolved - and, most importantly, I hate how the original purpose of the day has been diminished and forgotten.

Officially, there is no "Presidents' Day." The holiday does not exist -- officially. According to US federal law, the day we commonly refer to as "Presidents' Day" is "George Washington's Birthday Observed."

You see, the U.S. Congress voted to make George Washington's birthday a federal holiday. With the Monday Holidays Act, we no longer celebrate on Washington's birthday itself, but rather on what is usually the nearest Monday to it.

Well, over time, people stopped calling the holiday "George Washington Day" or "George Washington's Birthday" - and instead began calling it "Presidents' Day." There are several reasons for this - not the least of which is that some believe we should honor Abraham Lincoln as well.

While I agree that Lincoln deserves a holiday, let's not give him one at the expense of the father of our country. Either create a separate holiday for Lincoln, or leave the February holiday for George Washington. Don't diminish Washington in order to honor Lincoln. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Besides, we don't call the holiday "Washington-Lincoln Day," so Lincoln isn't being honored anyway.

There is only one solution to this problem. Remove George Washington's birthday from the Monday Holidays Act. Congress already did this with Veteran's Day. Let's do it with George Washington's birthday as well.

If Washington's birthday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, THEN you can observe the holiday on a Monday. Otherwise, observe the holiday on the actual day of his birth (according to the modern calendar, of course).

If you want to keep a "Presidents' Day" (because it sounds nice), then Congress can designate January 20 (Inauguration Day) as "Presidents' Day" - and make it a day to honor ALL our nation's Presidents.

But let's restore Washington's birthday now. By putting the February holiday actually on Washington's birthday, it will force people to recognize that it's a day to honor George Washington specifically. The father of our country deserves that.

***Interested in visiting Mount Vernon, check out this article.

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