Most see Presidents Day as a vague tribute to all of out past presidents and a free day of from work or school, and to an extent, they are right. Presidents Day was created to give us more three day weekends, but what is Presidents Day about then?
“I think Presidents Day serves as a good celebration for the men who kept our country in order.” Coppell High School sophomore Cameron Reid said. “It’s a day to remember and honor the people who helped make America what it is today.”
Presidents Day wasn’t always the holiday we know today. Presidents Day started out as a celebration of first President George Washington’s birthday following his death in 1799. This holiday was used as a day of quiet respect for the president and was not actually an official holiday until 1879, when it was recognized by the federal government.
Feb. 22 became a federal holiday that people took off from school and work to pay respect to the president. Almost every notable president such as Abraham Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt had their birthday celebrated in some way until 1971, when President Richard Nixon signed the Uniform Monday Holiday act. This federal act was created in efforts to create more three day weekends that we still benefit from to this day.
This act consolidated all of the presidents’ birthdays into one holiday: our Presidents Day. With Washington’s being the most popular, the official date for the holiday was centered around his birthday. The holiday was declared to happen on the third monday of every February and celebrate all presidents, past and present, not just Washington.
“I know it is supposed to be to commemorate our past presidents, and I think about it that way, but for the most part I get a day off,” CHS chemistry teacher Sorelle Kimball. “I get enjoy sleeping in, catching up on work, or spending time with my family.”
Use the extra day off to pay tribute to the men that made our country was it is today, but also remember to relax.