Monday, February 15, 2010

Eliminate the Presidents' Day Holiday

The federal holiday known as “Presidents' Day” should be eliminated and replaced with Washington's Birthday. The holiday, which is also a state holiday in Pennsylvania and other states, replaced Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday. As a result, the holiday now apparently commemorates all presidents, instead of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in particular.

Moreover, as the name of the holiday suggests, Washington's Birthday was supposed to honor the Father of our Country for all of his contributions, including as a general during the American Revolution, as a Founding Father, and for other contributions he made after he retired from the presidency, in addition to his presidency. Thus, not only is Washington's greatness as president diminished by including him with all of the other presidents, but also his greatness as the indispensible man of the American Revolution is overlooked by focusing exclusively on his presidency. See also my posts Presidents' Day vs. Washington's Birthday and George Washington, the Great.

Although there is a federal and state holiday called “Columbus Day,” named after Christopher Columbus, that day commemorates his Discovery of America on the Monday closest to October 12, the date of the Discovery, not the birthday of the Discoverer. Therefore, only Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is currently commemorated with a federal holiday for his birthday. King successfully used arguments based upon the American Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution to advance the cause of equality, yet neither the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, nor the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, are honored with holidays for their birthdays, for example. Although the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence is celebrated with a holiday, Constitution Day is not.

School tests, public surveys and sometimes voting results all suggest an ignorance about the United States among the American people. Reforming the federal holidays by restoring Washington's Birthday to its rightful place on the American calendar would educate Americans better about their independence and the founding of their Union.


Anonymous said...

I like your comment. I think that your mention of All Presidents being honored forget the origins of the day. The corporate world was trying to negotiate a reduction of paid days off. They combined the two holidays to one. You have a further redaction that misleads the coporate interests.

Chevalier Family said...

What is even worse is that NC, they want History Classes to begin after the Civil War. The previous material just won't be taught. :(