If it feels like President’s Day revolves more around mattress sales than a true tribute to the chief executives, it comes as no surprise to those who proposed the date. Originally celebrated separately as Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s birthday, the Uniform Holiday Act combined the two and designated the third Monday in February as the new date.
Even at the bill’s inception, lawmakers realized that creating more three-day weekends would have residual benefits beyond reflection on the persons the holiday honored. According to the History Channel, “while some argued that shifting holidays from their original dates would cheapen their meaning, the bill also had widespread support from both the private sector and labor unions and was seen as a surefire way to bolster retail sales.”
So today, as you head out to participate in commerce if you have the day off, take a moment to reflect on the service of those statesmen on your currency. Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson and Franklin all played an influential role to lay the foundation that has kept our democracy alive for two centuries.
Do something today to make note of their sacrifices and legacy besides shopping for a mattress. Here are some fun facts to get you started.