President’s Day is not just a reason to shop or a day to take off from work. President’s Day is a day with a purpose that has been around since 1800. (Editors, 2022)
It all began in 1800, the year after George Washington died. His February 22nd birthday became a day of remembrance, since he was one of the most prominent figures in American history at the time. The centennial of his birthday in 1832 and the start of construction on the Washington monument in 1848 were two additional occasions for the nation to celebrate. In 1879, the unofficial observance of Washington’s birthday became a federal holiday when President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. (Editors, 2022)
President’s Day has not always been celebrated on the third Monday in February. As a part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971, the observance was moved to the third Monday of February. (Editors, 2022) The act was an attempt to create more three-day weekends for American workers and reduce absenteeism from work by ensuring some holidays always fell on the same weekday. The act also added Abraham Lincoln to the month’s commemoration since his birthday is on February 12. Other federal holidays affected by the act were Columbus Day and Memorial Day. Currently, the holiday is a day to remember all presidents. Even though four presidents (George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan) have birthdays in February, none of their dates coincide with the third Monday celebration.
Whether you have the day off or have to work, take time on February 21st to remember the great men that have served our nation and maybe catch a good sale or two.