President’s Day is one of our country’s most important federal holidays as it provides an opportunity to celebrate the leaders who have shaped America into the great country it is today. While Americans enjoy a three-day weekend, there is so much more to this special day than sales and a day off. Let’s take a closer look at the origins of Presidents day and how it highlights the greatness of our American history.
What is President’s Day?
President’s Day, which is celebrated on the third Monday of February, honors the nation’s Presidential leaders and founding fathers who dedicated their lives to creating a country built on the fundamental values that would ensure its citizen’s freedoms and well-being. The origins of this federal holiday date back to 1879, when congress chose President George Washington’s birthday, which was on February 22nd, to be among the first official federal holidays granting paid leave to federal workers within the District of Columbia. As time progressed, the holiday extended beyond Washington’s birthday to cover the birth and lifetime achievements of all Presidents, both past and current.
Unlike many federal holidays, President’s Day is unique in that it goes by various names, although the official name is still recorded as George Washington’s Birthday by the federal government. For example, in Minnesota, the holiday is referred to as Washington and Lincoln’s birthday in honor of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. In Alabama, they include Thomas Jefferson, whose actual birthday was April 13th. In Arkansas, it’s called George Washington’s birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day. No matter the label, President’s Day is a day of remembrance for not only the first president of the United States but for every American president who dedicated his life to the service of our country.
How President’s Day Become a Popular Holiday
As the nation’s head, it’s no wonder congress chose to add President’s Day as one of the first official national holidays. Honoring U.S. presidents for their contributions to ensuring our freedom and their dedication to protecting our country’s sovereignty is one way all citizens can remember the many sacrifices our presidents have made. In 1968, congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which permanently moved both President’s Day and Memorial Day to Monday. This act would grant federal workers and many others a three-day weekend, making it a day to look forward to. Moreover, in addition to the long weekend, retail stores began using the holiday as a time to offer customers sales and discounts on their goods and services, furthering its popularity. While there’s no doubt that getting an extra day off and finding bargains at the store is great, it’s important to remember the significance of this federal holiday and continue to provide homage to our country’s leaders.
The Significance of President’s Day
There’s no doubt that the American president is not only the most powerful man in the country but also the world. Public holidays like President’s Day give citizens the chance to take a moment from their busy lives and remember those who dedicate their lives to ensuring America remains the greatest country in the world. When establishing a federal holiday, congress must determine which people and moments in history define our nation’s ideals and set us apart from others around the world. Examples include:
-Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Each of these holidays highlights the men and women who are paramount in our nation’s history. While President’s Day honors the man living in the White House, these celebrations as a whole encompass the ideals that unite the American people and concrete our country’s legacy.
1. What Services and Stores Are Closed on President’s Day?
As a legal federal holiday, all government facilities are closed in honor of the holiday. These include public schools, post offices, and government agencies. While most of Washington D.C. is closed, the vast majority of retail stores remain open, with many offering impressive deals on their merchandise.
2. Is President’s Day a National or Federal Holiday?
President’s Day is a federal holiday, meaning each state can decide whether they want to celebrate it or not. This distinction explains the differing names found throughout many states. While not technically a national holiday, it is widely accepted throughout the country and is often referred to under both pseudonyms.
3. Do We Work on President’s Day?
Depending on your profession, you may or may not work on President’s Day. Those in government sectors will have the day off, while retail workers will most likely have a regularly scheduled day.
4. Which States Do Not Celebrate President’s Day?
Delaware is the only state that doesn’t celebrate President’s Day.
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