f ever there was a post that writes itself, this is it. Presidents’ Day in the United States stands for so much really. In one fell swoop, it manages to combine a paid day off work for most, one of the greatest examples of hypocricy, confusion from zero definition or commitment, and something really only done for the need to fulfill another nice 3 day weekend with a patriotic bow on top.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) this is one monumental (get it) gaffe that belongs in the Hall of Fame/Shame of all Gaffes.
On the one hand you have, however you describe him exactly, The Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln, born February 12, 1809. Lincoln, while many of us in the Midwest may believe he was well deserving, was never awarded a Federal Holiday to commemorate his birthday. Several states have, however, observed or recognized it officially. I would venture to guess that this term of Presidents’ Day which is “technically” meant to stand for ALL Presidents is still referred to as Washington’s Birthday in many parts of the country. In fact, per the National Archives-
|Monday, February 18**||Washington’s Birthday|
** This holiday is designated as “Washington’s Birthday.” Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is Federal policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.
George Washington on the other hand, who had 316 slaves living on the Mount Vernon estate at the time of his death, was born on February 22, 1732. To be fair, 153 of those slaves were actually Martha’s that she got from her 1st deceased husband, 40 were being leased from a neighbor, so George only owned 123. Then his will asked Martha to free all slaves within 12 months of his death.
Anyway, the Federal Holiday celebrating his birthday was adjusted on January 1, 1971 by The Uniform Monday Holiday Act which place it always on the 3rd Monday of February. Actually, Washington’s birthday used to be February 11, 1732, but when the New Style or Gregorian calendar, implemented in 1532, is utilized that changes it to February 22nd. Seems 200 years wasn’t enough time for some folks to catch on with the new technology of the “time”. Sound familiar? Yeah, that issue will never go away. Either way, the Federal Holiday of Washington’s Birthday was now guaranteed to NEVER be on his actual birthday, whenever that really was, exactly.
So, after sorting through all of that mess above, our government really stands where it began or where it’s gotten….total confusion. IF Presidents’ Day is what a lot of people perceive it to be which is basically Washington’s Birthday & Lincoln’s Birthday kind of thrown together then it’s the worst pairing since Ruben Studdard toured with Clay Aiken. If it’s really still just Washington’s Birthday as written by law, then publicize it as such or change the law.
Forget those suggestions. The government doesn’t make cents worth anything.