Not too many young folks today remember that “President’s Day” was in reality a holiday established to specially recognize George Washington, on his birthday. The holiday was initially established in 1885 by a bill signed by President Chester Arthur, which proclaimed that February 22nd, Washington’s Birthday, will be a federal government holiday.
However, like a lot of things to do with Washington, matters were not so simple. Washington’s Birthday was essentially on February 11th, but that was according to the Julian calendar. However, Britain ultimately moved to the Gregorian calendar, which in turn moved everything forward 11 days. Eventually, Abraham Lincoln was elected president and turned out to be a president as remarkable and served as much of a driver to the nation as Washington did. His birthday was February 12th, and many states started to observe that date as a holiday.
The Emergence of President’s Day
Years later, in 1968, members of Congress decided that it would be easier to commemorate the holidays if they were on Monday to ensure that employees might have a three day weekend instead of having a broken week during the week. This bill moved all holidays to Monday, so Presidents Day lies the third Monday in February. This national holiday is oftentimes referred to as “President’s Day,” in honor of both Washington and Lincoln, but the official name is “Washington’s Birthday.”.
So as to make the solitary legal holiday more inclusive of both Presidents, Congress considered a bill to relabel it as President’s Day. Congress shot down the bill. Some in Congress would like to make the national holiday more comprehensive of not merely Lincoln, but all Presidents who served our country. But when it boils down to it, the original intent of the holiday was to acknowledge the first significant and great President who had one of the largest roles in founding this country and establishing the Constitution that we hold so precious. Washington merits to be honored as the most significant leader the United States have ever had.
Just What Does President’s Day Signify to Americans?
If you question most Americans with regards to President’s Day, they’ll likely tell you that it is just one of the very best shopping days of the year. Merchants deliver some of the steepest price cuts of the year as they convert from winter goods to spring stock. Stores want to clear out floor space for the new products, and disposing of the remaining winter items are their optimum priority. In some cases the key concern is so high that sales are very shocking.
Sadly, this practice has triggered the legal holiday, which was designed to recognize President Washington and President Lincoln, to emerge as a highly commercial holiday, just like Christmas has become. It seems unfortunate that most Americans do not understand the relevance of the day, the history behind it, and the history behind the men for which it was created.
Ways to Commemorate President’s Day.
That’s not actually to say that you shouldn’t indulge in a great day of rock-bottom closeouts at your neighborhood retailer. But primarily, moms and dads should spend the day with their children, educating them about Washington’s life and the history of the emergence of our country. Parents should enjoy activities with their children that reflect on what it means to become a U.S. President, and exactly what kind of struggles and trials George Washington faced during his time as a young child, his time on the battlegrounds of our young country, and his time as a leader of this great nation.