Monday, February 18, 2013

Not Until Friday

George Washington was born on February 22. It was the second national holiday I myself noted consciously, after July 4. I’d entered the Army on February 21, and my second day was already a day off!! That sticks in the mind. Congress established Washington’s Birthday as a national holiday in 1879, celebrated on the day. In 1971 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and moved this day to the third Monday in February. I entered the Army in 1956 and thus escaped this revision. Lincoln having been born in February as well (the 12th), calendar makers call this Presidents’ Day. But the official name remains Washington’s Birthday, which it isn’t really. All these Monday holidays (Washington’s, Memorial, Columbus’, Veterans, and later Martin Luther King’s) might be uniformly named Three-Day-Weekend days. The public likes it—so do the banks. The last time Washington’s actual birthday fell on a Monday was in 2010; alas it was the fourth Monday, not the third.

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