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Did you know that Presidents' Day - which falls on the third Monday of February, annually - is actually not President's Day?

It's supposed to be George Washington's birthday. But his birthday was once observed as an official "bank holiday" on his real actual birthday of February 22 (1732).

While you’re enjoying your day off, take a moment to remember what this day is all about.

Watch my video for the details as to how/why his birthday was dropped as an officially observed federal holiday.

And here's the script I wrote and worked from (much of which had to be cut for time):


Presidents Day

The story of Presidents’ Day begins in 1800. Following President George Washington’s death in 1799, his February 22 birthday became an enduring day of remembrance.

While Washington’s Birthday was an unofficial observance for most of the 1800s, it was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday.

At the time, Washington’s Birthday joined four other nationally recognized federal bank holidays—Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving—and was the first to celebrate the life of an individual American. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, signed into law in 1983, would be the second.

But I know what you thinking, Presidents’ Day is really an amalgamation of both Washington’s birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s. As they are both in February. 

Sadly, I’m guessing that there are many others out there who might think that Presidents’ Day honors all presidents. 

I mean, with a title like Presidents Day, I can’t blame you… but that is equally incorrect.

But would you like that? As Robert Reich says, ““President’s Day” is as meaningless as “Toothpaste Day.” … {my interjection) By lumping all presidents together – the great ones with the lousy ones — we end up with an irrelevant lump.

Let me educate you.

The third Monday in February is actually listed on official calendars as Washington’s Birthday. Yep, not Presidents’ Day, but Washington’s Birthday! There is no national holiday technically called, “President’s Day.”

{Character} But how and why did Washington’s Birthday become nationally recognized as Presidents’ Day?

It alllll started in the late 1960s (and eventually took effect in 1971) when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Championed by Senator Robert McClory of Illinois, this law sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. It was thought a good thing to give many of the nation’s employees more 3 day weekends and it was seen as a sure-fire way to strengthen retail sales.

Look, I have proof. Check this out, here is the legislation from Congress: there it is: Washington’s Birthday, the 3rd Monday of Feb. They all stuck, though the Veterans Day long weekend was resisted by many states, localities, and veteran's groups. By 1978 Veterans Day was again rescheduled for annual observance on November 11.

So, the move away from February 22, Washington’s actually bday, led many to believe that the new date was intended to honor both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as it now fell between their two birthdays. Marketers soon jumped at the opportunity to play up the three-day weekend with sales, and “Presidents’ Day” bargains were advertised at stores around the country.

Washington is known as the father of the United States and might be the best known American politician ever. With Washington’s Birthday becoming Presidents Day AKA a 3 day weekend with killers sales, the meaning is gone and, I think, ultimately America suffers a net loss to its identity fabric. 

As Dennis Prager says, “National memory dies without national ritual. And without a national memory, a nation dies.”

What do you think of Presidents’ Day vs Washington’s Birthday? 

Remember The Heroes by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Artist: http://audionautix.com/


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