Why is there a President’s Day?

Have you ever wondered about that? I mean we don’t have a Supreme Court Day, or a Speaker of the House Day, or even a Nobel Peace Prize Winner Day. I think it is important that we have a day for remembering our veterans, and we’ve set aside a day to remember Martin Luther King Jr. and the contributions to society that he brought. But let’s face it. Few do much on President’s Day other than go to mall to check out the sales. We may hang our flag, but there’s also Flag Day for that.

I even heard a joke about this on the radio today. “This is a low stress holiday–all you have to do is think of a president you liked.” I don’t think I’ve heard any mentions of parades celebrating FDR or even Lincoln, despite the plethora of Lincoln movies released recently.

So that brings us back to the question. if nobody really does much of anything on President’s Day, why do we have this holiday? Some of us might remember back to when there were two dates in February–George Washington’s birthday on February 22, and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12. Celebrating Washington’s birthday as the first President of the United States dated back to the mid-1800’s, and later on, Lincoln’s was celebrated as well. They finally decided to have a day recognizing the President, and after much debate (like twenty years I think), the third Monday in February was selected because of those two great men having their birthdays in close proximity. So here we are.

We seem to be past the days of recognizing heroes. How many people really think Columbus was a hero these days? Post MLK, has there been anyone worthy of having a day named after them? I can’t think of any, and no, not Reagan. Maybe Nelson Mandela, but that’s more an international thing than an American hero. But really, can you think of anyone?

I don’t mean to sound cynical, but sometimes I can’t help but feel that way. I do think that both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were great men and deserve to be celebrated. I’ll even go along with the idea of a day to recognize presidents, both past and present. But I worry that we’ve let our standards drop a bit since the early days of our country. It seems like nobody does great deeds any more. Maybe someone will surprise me.

Until then, I’ll send a quick salute to our first and sixteen presidents (and maybe throw in Jefferson as well), then head to the mall.


Goal update:

Finally was about to make my goal of writing 2000 words in a week–2006 for last week!  Woot!



9373 / 100000 words. 9% done!

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