Posts Tagged ‘third Monday of February’

The Meaning Behind Presidents’ Day

February 21, 2011

As another Presidents’ Day draws near, let’s stop and think about the meaning behind this holiday.  Each person has a different perspective of it: for kids or teens, it’s a day off from school; for shoppers, it’s one more day of specials and sales at department stores.  However, these things aren’t the point of Presidents’ Day.  The point of the holiday is to recognize George Washington, one of the founding fathers and the first president of the United States, as well as Abraham Lincoln, the president who held the nation together during the American Civil War.

Before 1968, George Washington’s birthday was celebrated apart from Abraham Lincoln’s.  Washington’s birthday was on February 22 while Lincoln’s was celebrated on February 12.  Even though each of them deserves a special day of recognition, in 1968, the 90th Congress decided it wanted to make the federal holidays uniform so that they would fall on Mondays.  Thus, the original dates of each president’s birthday were changed.  However, some people feared that the identities of Washington and Lincoln would be lost considering the days set to commemorate their birthdays were not their actual birth dates.  Eventually, some states such as California, Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas decided to name the third Monday of February “Presidents’ Day”.  With a new title for the holiday, many now feel the holiday honors all United States presidents, not just Washington and Lincoln.  So however you decide to spend your Presidents’ Day, keep in mind the presidents you admire and recognize all the good they’ve done for our country.

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Joie Montoya