“Back in the day,” we had two presidential birthdays to celebrate in February, both of which gave us the day off from school: Lincoln’s on the 12th, and Washington’s on the 22nd. Then in 1968 some government wiseasses decided they wanted another three-day weekend, and the third Monday in February became a federal holiday in 1971.
Throughout my 30-year teaching career, I made sure my students learned the history of both Washington and Lincoln and their historic contributions, individually, and not glumped together like bags of day-old donuts.
Ironically, a great deal of time and energy goes into the promotion of “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” on the third Monday of January (he was born on the 15th). Which immediately begs the question, at least in my mind, as to why we aren’t celebrating something a little more generic like “Equal Rights Day”?
My point is, the educational focus on two of our most revered presidents has been brushed aside by a day now primarily used as a marketing ploy. Hell will freeze over before you see me attend a “Presidents’ Day Sale.” Most of the time they don’t even put the apostrophe in the right place!
Ok, I’ll get down off my soapbox now… But on February 22 I’ll be eating cherry pie. If you have to ask why, then my point is well-taken!