There is no such thing as Presidents Day. It doesn't exist. Oh, don't get me wrong, I think we've had some good presidents, some worthy of celebrating. I also think we've had some low-lifes that should have ended up in a cage and been poked with sticks. But that's not the topic today. Today's topic is Washington's Birthday.
George Washington was born February 11, 1732. What's that? His birthday is the 22nd? Well, yes, but when George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the calendar said February 11th. You see, calendars have had problems over the years. And the American Colonies were using the same calendar as Great Britain, and they used the Julian Calendar. The problem was, the Julian Calendar had a flaw. And that flaw caused the calendar to get out of sync with the Earth's position around the sun. Well, the Gregorian Calendar fixed the flaws, pretty much. In fact, we're using it today. But they had a situation back then. Once England made the jump from Julian to Gregorian in 1752, that meant that dates in the past changed. What was February 11, 1732 became February 22, 1732. It was this same kind of delay that accounts for the Russian October Revolution being celebrated in November. You see, they didn't adopt the Gregorian Calendar until 1918. But we were talking about Washington's Birthday.
Once the whole calendar thing got all straightened out, people started celebrating Washington's Birthday on February 22nd. Well, the Washington family did. The rest of us didn't care. Actually, most of us weren't around then. But those that were, didn't care. Except friends and family of the little cherry tree killer. Okay, that story didn't really happen, buy you get my point. Well, actually, that's not my point. My point is: It's not Presidents Day. It's George Washington's Birthday.
George Washington led the American forces in the Revolutionary War, culminating in the British surrender and recognition of the United States of American as a soverign nation. After several unsuccessful governments were established under the Articles of Confederation, a new Constitution was adopted. The electors unanimously selected Washington as the first President, the only person ever so honored, although James Monroe came 1 vote shy in 1820.
As a military officer and a statesman and politician, Washington was one of the most respected Americans. And, his birthday was celebrated by the states. In 1879, Washington's Birthday became the fifth federal holiday, joining New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
In 1968, the movement to change many holidays to a nearby Monday began. In 1971, Richard Nixon issued Executive Order 11582, and in the process, used the phrase "Presidents Day," although that phrase isn't in the actual order. The thing that gets me is, most of the people who always held Nixon up as a liar also use the phrase "Presidents Day" instead of "Washington's Birthday." Go figure.
Anyway, the holiday is officially Washington's Birthday, and has always been Washington's Birthday. If you still don't believe me, take a look at United States Code (5 U.S.C. 6103) and check out the third holiday listed.
And, if you want to spread ignorance and call it "Presidents Day," don't do it around me. I think celebrating George Washinton's Birthday is a good thing. But if you don't think George Washington's Birthday is worthy of celebrating, take your ass to work.
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