For the average American President’s Day is simply a day off!  A three day weekend that retailers across the country utilize to induce store traffic and of course on-line shopping incentivize by discounts and specials shoppers can get nowhere else! 

But that’s not how it started.  

Most of our septuagenarians and octogenarians readers will remember this day from their youth as Washington’s Birthday, a celebration of the birth and life of our first president on February 22nd.  Even some sexagenarians with excellent childhood memories might recall this as well given their parents refusal to acknowledge the new designation that dated back to the 1870’s when it became a national holiday.  But change is inevitable and as time went on it seemed only fair to honor another great American President whose birthday also occurred in the month of February on the 12th.  Illinois had long celebrated the birth of Lincoln and other states bought into the notion as well.  

President George Washington

For some Americans two days off in the month of February was welcomed but these days fell randomly and fewer could actually take the day as it interfered with work schedules. Classrooms were a bit more unruly as these holidays approached, all too often in the middle of the week.

In the late 1960s, Congress proposed a measure called the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which sounded more like a tariff than a day off? Initially the idea was to celebrate the memories of our two greatest presidents in a uniform way that always fell on a Monday.  My take is that it’s celebrated on the third Monday in February each year principally honoring Washington but in adopting the designation as President’s Day. Not everyone was pleased.

US Capitol Building
President Abraham Lincoln
Richard Nixon

In addition to Columbus Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day were all moved from specific dates to Mondays during their traditional months of celebration.  Vets Day was later changed back by popular demand.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed in 1968 and officially took effect in 1971 following an executive order from of all people Richard Millhouse Nixon.

By the 1980’s more than half of the nation’s states had designated the day as President’s Day, assumedly a day in which we honor all of our presidents, some great and some not so great. 

So let’s check the mail and let’s see if we can find some of those great shopping deals!

Cheers, Gents
Written By Contributor:
J. McAleer

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