Forty years ago, you rarely heard the name "Presidents' Day." Now, of course, we read drivel like the following over at the website eHow: "Presidents' Day is more than just a day off from work. It's a holiday that gives us a chance to think about the lesson we an learn from the lives of those who have attained the highest office in the United States" ("How to Understand the Meaning of Presidents' Day," eHow).
Excuse me while I try to settle my stomach down. It wouldn't be so bad, were it not for the fact that so many people believe this garbage. Because, as the eHow article demonstrates, the United States of America has pretty much lost ALL understanding of what the February holiday is SUPPOSED to be about.
The travesty began in 1968, when Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act. Prior to that piece of legislation, there were nine federal holidays celebrated on specific dates. Each year, they would fall on different days of the week. That was too confusing and not worker-friendly enough for congressional tastes, so they decided to "improve" the situation.
With the Monday Holidays Act, Congress shifted four holidays (George Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans' Day) to designated Mondays in their respective months. Veterans' groups cried foul (justifiably so), and got Veterans' Day moved back to November 11, recognizing its origins as a day inspired by the armistice which ended World War I.
Once Washington's Birthday was dislodged from its actual birthday, the day simply became another day off work, a capstone to a three-day weekend. Advertisers began to use the term "Presidents' Day." And, well, the rest is history.
Today, Americans should take a cue from the veterans. They should cry foul!
And Congress and the states of the U.S. should move Washington's Birthday back to where it belongs.....on his birthday!!!
That means that, each year, the United States government (and all state governments) should recognize February 22 as a holiday to honor George Washington, the father of our country.
The February 22 holiday should recognize George Washington....and ONLY George Washington.
Anyone who says that George Washington doesn't deserve his own holiday is surely deprived of something we call "common sense." Anyone with a functioning brain should recognize the enormous contributions George Washington made to the United States and the fact that, without Washington, there likely wouldn't even be a United States today. Washington deserves every bit the moniker "Father of his Country."
It's only been since the Monday Holidays Act that people have begun to question this, now alleging that other Presidents warrant similar attention. Well, first, some Presidents shouldn't get ANY attention. And second, Washington isn't just being recognized for what he did as President. The purpose of his holiday was to recognize him for all of his accomplishments.
Chances are, though, that this wrong will not be righted. Too many people are used to hearing and saying "Presidents' Day." And people frankly love having three day weekends.
And, because of those two things, George Washington's legacy will continue to diminish each and every year.