Letter to the editor: Washington’s Birthday Not Presidents Day

MailboxsmallDear Editor:

How many can remember when attending school two holidays; Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays? This changing of our first Presidents birthday to Presidents day is a form of tampering with past for private concerns; let me explain. The idea of a holiday is to have an extra day to spend with family or one’s own liberty with time. Washington’s day of birth February 11, 1731 this time period had the Julian calendar in effect. In 1752 the Georgian Calendar replaced the Julian thereby changing Washington’s birth to February 22, 1732. Skipping the exact reason here of why the inaccuracy of days occurred between the two measures of year or our accurate days in complete rotation around the sun then about 10-days, we still have Washington’s Birth; however because of the Ninetieth Congress in 1968; determined to create a uniform system of federal Monday holidays, Congress voted to shift three existing holidays to Mondays and expanded the number further by creating one new Monday holiday.

Washington’s Birthday was uprooted from its fixed February 22 date and transplanted to the third Monday in February, followed by Memorial Day being relocated from the last day in May to the last Monday in May. One newly created holiday—Columbus Day—was positioned on the second Monday in October, as Veterans Day—ousted from its November 11 foxhole—was reassigned to the fourth Monday in October (although rebellion by veterans’ organizations and state governments forced the 1980 return of Veterans Day to its historic Armistice date of November 11). That Washington’s birth date—February 22—would never fall on the third Monday in February was considered of minimum importance. After all, who could ever forget all that George Washington meant to this country?

In fact, Nixon issued an executive order on February 11, 1971, proclaiming the third Monday of February a holiday. That order, however, referred to the holiday as nothing other than Washington’s Birthday. Claims that Nixon had changed the holiday to the more generic Presidents Day apparently stemmed from an inaccurate newspaper account.

Nonetheless, in the final decades of the 20th century, an increasing number of people embraced the term “Presidents Day.” Some states have even adopted Presidents Day as a state holiday in lieu of Washington’s Birthday. Still, the federal holiday on the third Monday of February legally remains “Washington’s Birthday” to this day.

  In conclusion, we have the father our country being thrown into a batch of other men called presidents because of the office held. One other seeming observation is one of the Monday Holidays added to the calendar Columbus Day, calls this man by name, and alleges his discovery of the new world, despite the fact that people were here already. Columbus himself never in his five voyages set foot in North or South America, and spelt the beginning of the genocide of native peoples and the theft of their lands or habitats.

So a foreigner Columbus in name is proclaimed above that of our first President, Commander and Chief of the American Continental Army, the very “iron core of the republic”. Columbus day should then be Native American Day.

The underlying reason for this is a private not only newspaper media hype taken hold, but the idea of a consumers holiday of shopping; so we go from Washington birthdays sales to the sensational Presidents day sales; indoctrinating us into a transition from citizen to consumer and misleading us into our own history as somehow the office of president is no different in time and space from Washington time, as democracy itself without considering of actual changes marches on in some order and exceptional way, after all  it takes is to be American.

New Jersey Being one of the first colonies and the third State to ratify the Federal Constitution should go back to calling it, Washington’s Birthday, not Presidents day. It is a fact Washington spent most of the War Years 1775-1783 right here in New Jersey. The Holiday is Federal Not State and thereby must not be altered by private economic motives, a mere shopping sale day. No State of the Union formed in 1789 or any after should have the prerogative to change the name of this Day, be it the change to the third Monday be sufficient.

Lincolns Birth February 12 was a State Holiday, many states of the old south did not recognize it, and were allowed to do so, because of the subversion of the 13th & 14th Amendments and the establishment of Jim Crow in the old confederacy. During my grammar school days, we did recognize both men on their day. Being 10-11 years old in 1961 we were made to “celebrate” be somewhat educated and made aware of 100 years since the civil war, plays, songs, hats both Yankee and rebel, civil war cards, battles but little of slavery; even less were we taught about Washington and the dynamic of his rise to power and his problems with human nature at the time; or how American Indians played such a large part in our Nations beginnings.

 In the final decades of the 20th century, an increasing number of people embraced the term “Presidents Day.” Some states have even adopted Presidents Day as a state holiday in lieu of Washington’s Birthday. Still, the federal holiday on the third Monday of February legally remains “Washington’s Birthday” to this day. In our age of the demise of good government through vested interest, like SuperPacs and elected officials who work to degrade rather enforce civil and common concerns, we need Washington’s Birthday to be restored as such, as he still is for his time and position of birth a great example of a leader, always giving not taking, risking his life and returning the power of the Army to civilian control. It is we who have failed him and our nation for selfish reasons. In the year 2016 the American experiment in my opinion is a failure, as private economic concerns have replaced our quest for good government in the establishment of a democracy; of which we are not. The Great man himself experienced the short-coming of human nature, we fail to honesty examine ourselves, what are we really all about? Don’t believe anyone really knows anymore as our souls, and spirits have been contaminated by corporate power and the influence of money, which is not the value of life itself.

When one President is not unlike any other we only prolong our own problems and fail to see into ourselves, progress without evolution has allowed people to serve technology rather than technology serving the people. 2016 looks like Washington made a big mistake; he however is none the less for it as his example can still inspire those who wish to call themselves American. Ideas of Liberty and actual needs shall not be replaced with motives of overly exceeding profits

Nick Homyak
Lake Hiawatha

 

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