President’s Day, An Important Holiday, or Just a Reason to Miss School?

AJ Rotkis, Staff Writer

On February 15, 2021 we celebrate this year’s President’s Day. Some people may just see this day as a day that we miss school, but this day is very important. It celebrates the people that formed this country into what it is today, and helps us to better appreciate what they’ve done.

President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday of every February. The first President’s day was celebrated on George Washington’s birthday in 1880. This was changed in 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved federal holidays to Mondays. This bill was passed so that workers had a certain amount of long weekends throughout the year. One could say it actually is just a reason to miss work or school, but many other people oppose this bill arguing the holidays should be celebrated on days that they actually commemorate.

It was first proposed to be renamed President’s Day to honor the birthdays of former presidents George Washington, born February 22, 1732, and Abraham Lincoln, born February 12, 1809. Congress rejected the name change, but when the bill went into effect in 1971, President’s day became the widely accepted name among Americans. This was due to the fact that retailers used the name to promote certain sales in stores, and the holiday’s closeness to Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

The president’s that are most celebrated are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They were also very influential in the history of the United States of America.

George Washington was not only our first president, but he was also a general in the war that led to the independence of our country.  President from 1789-1797, he oversaw over the Constitutional Congress, which created the United States Constitution and the federal government. He helped implement a strong, well-financed government, set many precedents for presidents that followed him. Some of these included the title, “Mr. President,” and many people believe that his farewell speech was a the start of republicanism. He is honored today on the dollar bill, and has many monuments and paintings named after him.

Abraham Lincoln could very well be the most well-known president in our history, as he was the one that freed the slaves. He was the 16th president of the United States from 1861-1865 when he was assassinated. He is responsible for preserving the Union, freeing the slaves, boosting the federal government, and modernizing the economy. His most famous speech is the Gettysburg Address in which he called for nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. He initiated a push for civil rights that attempted to put the United States on a path toward being a truly equal country.