Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about Presidents Day. It was pretty much a consensus that nobody we know celebrates this holiday. Although, government institutions, banking institutions and various other businesses love it because their employees get the day off. My friend thought Presidents Day was to celebrate the current president, and I thought it was to celebrate all the presidents, current and past. I was never taught anything about it in school, like other holidays, so I decided to do a little research and see if it was worthy of closer attention in the future. Here’s what I found…..
Presidents Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. This holiday is legally designated as “Washington’s Birthday”. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is the federal government’s policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law. Washington’s Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia in 1880. It was made a federal holiday in 1879 when President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law and became a national bank holiday 1885. The holiday was originally held on the anniversary of George Washington’s birth, on February 22. In 1971, this holiday was moved to the third Monday in February.
Although, this is what was posted on the White House website. It seems it’s not about just ole George with them.
“This is often the time of year students across the country study U.S. Presidents, especially Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, both of whom have birthdays celebrated in February. Luckily, we’ve revamped our Presidents’ pages in time for the holiday, so whether you’re a student or adult, you can more easily buff up on American history.”
They say it’s the time for students to learn about presidents but school is closed. Go figure! To celebrate in 2015, they revamped the White House presidential history pages. (YAWN) They also posted this cool picture of all the living presidents, minus Bush, Sr.
Turns out my friend and I we were both kinda sorta right, depending on who you ask. Presidents Day is about Washington or all the U.S. Presidents. As far as I know, there are no Presidents Day festivities planned in my city. What about yours? I know some stores are having a Presidents Day sale but that’s not really special. Retail will commercialize anything. Are we truly honoring a man who was our great nation’s first elected leader if we do nothing but give people the day off? I searched the internet and didn’t really find any official celebrations. The White House isn’t even doing anything. If it is about George Washington aren’t we supposed to celebrate, do some act of kindness in his honor, have a program or fundraiser to honor him, get the family together for food and sports, or go get drunk at a local bar because he can’t? We can go chop down a cherry tree. I’m just saying. Google didn’t even bother to put up a cute Google design like they do on other holidays. I do see lots of posts about it on social media but that’s about it. Valentine’s Day was yesterday and all the local restaurants were packed with people celebrating love. Does anybody want or care to celebrate George Washington? Washington is on the face of money for goodness sake. Maybe we should all just only spend one dollar bills today in his honor?
I combed through several pictures of him today and that gave me another question, did he ever smile? Celebrate if you are moved to do so.
Happy birthday George Washington and Happy Presidents Day to you!
About the Blogger
Jae Henderson in the founder of imagoodwoman.com. She’s also a book author with six published titles, speaker and a professional voice over artist. Learn more about her at www.jaehendersonauthor.com.