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From: Jerry Cline
have another potential "holiday" contest for VDARE
– "George Washington`s Birthday" vs.
Please inform VDARE readers that there is not,
nor has there ever been, a national holiday called
The official federal holiday can be referenced in
Title 5, section 6103(a) of the United States Code and
clearly states that the third Monday in February is to
be known only as "George Washington`s Birthday".
then did we get "President`s Day"?
There are two main reasons.
First, in 1968, effective 1971, the federal
government moved the holiday from Washington`s actual
birthday of February 22nd (Gregorian) to the
third Monday in February in order to create a three day
name "George Washington`s Birthday" was
not changed. Sometime
after this, President Nixon made an address referring to
the holiday as "President`s Day", possibly in a
nod to groups that wished for a federal holiday honoring
this day, many cite Nixon as the President who legally
changed the name. This
is entirely false, as evidenced by the above-mentioned
second and more important reason for the evolution of
"President`s Day" was the effort to create state Martin Luther King holidays in the 1970s and 80s. (The
national MLK holiday is irrelevant to the
"President`s Day" issue because the additional
federal holiday honoring MLK did not change
Washington`s federal holiday).
Because we live in a federal republic (in theory
at least) states decide for themselves what are to be
state holidays. As a result, most states do not
celebrate the same days.
Prior to 1968, all states celebrated
Washington`s birthday while only some states
celebrated both Washington AND Lincoln, honoring them
each with separate state holidays. It was the combination
of the Washington and Lincoln holidays of some states in
order to reduce the economic costs of the additional
King holiday that was the catalyst for the
"President`s Day" name change.
The states can be broken down into four main categories:
– these states have never celebrated "Honest Abe"
and, therefore, have no "President`s Day" issues
because there are no holidays to combine.
Most of these states are in the South.
– these states were very generous to their employees
and allowed an additional holiday for MLK while
retaining separate Washington and Lincoln holidays as
But Retain "Washington-Lincoln" – these states were afraid that a designation of "President`s
Day" would confuse the citizenry into believing that
the state had in fact created a holiday for a branch of
the federal government and so, decided to keep the names
of Washington and Lincoln in the holiday. For example, Ohio combined its separate holidays, calling it
O.R.C. § 1.14(C).
and Change to "President`s Day" – these states, a minority, foolishly believed that changing the name
would in no way change the meaning of the holiday. It is from these states, as well as the Nixon proclamation,
that the "President`s Day" name change can be
To summarize: the federal government and most states do not legally celebrate a "President`s Day". Why is all of this important? The incorrect designation of "President`s Day" in most of the country promotes the idea that the 3rd Monday of February is to celebrate all Presidents or worse, one branch of the federal government.
In fact, the problem is so widespread that Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD) sponsored H.R. 1363 last year to force federal agencies to refer to the Washington holiday by its proper name. Because there was no vote, the bill died.
I suggest a new one should be written and passed this year to protect the Washington holiday from further dishonor. (I exclude the minority of states that have legally changed the name to "President`s Day" insofar as they have the right to do so, although
I condemn them for their stupidity in believing that the holiday would retain it`s original character by celebrating only two men). We as a nation must remember that this holiday is NOT to celebrate Grover Cleveland, Gerald Ford or heaven forbid, Bill Clinton. It is a day set aside to remember the "Father of Our Country".
February 26, 2001