President’s Day – Part 2

Categories:National Holidays
David Aker
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Most people can tell you President’s Day is the third Monday in February when they have a day off from work or school. Many people refer to it as “Washington’s Birthday” (still its official name) and can remember when the holiday was celebrated on February 22nd, regardless of the day of the week.

In 1951, the first attempt to create a President’s Day occurred when the “President’s Day National Committee” was formed by Harold Stonebridge Fischer of Compton, California, who became its National Executive Director for the next two decades.  The purpose was not to honor any particular President, but to honor the office of the Presidency.  The intent of this committee was not to honor any particular President, but to honor the office of the Presidency.

It was first thought that March 4, the original inauguration day, should be deemed Presidents Day.  However, the bill recognizing the March 4th date was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee  (the committee that had authority over national holidays).  This Senate committee thought that , because of its proximity to Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays, 3 holidays so close together would be unduly burdensome and confusing.

During this time, however, a majority of state Governors issued proclamations declaring March 4 to be President’s Day in their respective jurisdictions.  Later on, the Washington’s Birthday holiday would concurrently become known as President’s Day.

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved a number of federal holidays to Mondays. The change was designed to schedule certain holidays so that workers had a number of long weekends throughout the year.

In 1971, the recognition of President Lincoln’s Birthday and President Washington’s Birthday was combined into one national holiday – President’s Day.  At that time, President Nixon, moved the observance to the third Monday in February and made a proclamation designating that day to honor all past presidents. Since then the common term for the holiday has been “President’s Day”.  (Note:  President’s Day is a misspelling when used with the intention of celebrating more than one individual.)

Washington’s Birthday was first celebrated in 1796 while George Washington was still in office as the President of the United States.  Lincoln’s birthday was originally commemorated in 1866, the year after his assassination when both houses of Congress gathered for a memorial address in his honor.

The U.S. Flag Code – USC Title IV, § 6(d) – recommends the American flag be displayed on President’s Day!

Now is a good time to inspect your flag for signs of wear.   Most US flags can be cleaned by machine washing in cold water and laid out flat to dry. If your flag is frayed or worn at the edges, a new hem can restore dignity to your flag and greatly extend its life.  Flags International provides a repair service at a nominal cost for US Flags purchased at Flags International.

If your US flag is soiled or tattered beyond repair, it should be “retired”.  The U.S. Flag Code – USC Title IV, § 8(k) – states that when the flag is in such a condition, it “should be destroyed in a dignified way”.

Flags International® will accept old flags for retirement, when a new one is purchased.

Remember to fly your American Flag on President’s Day to honor those who have held the Executive Office and led our country through many challenges faced in the past 228 years. Fly the US Flag to also show support for our troops, especially now during these challenging times.

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Wikipedia Multimedia Encyclopedia

The World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia

Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite.  Chicago, 2012