What is President’s Day?

Ashley Voigt, Contributing Writer

Every student looks forward to the prospect of a three day weekend. This means an extra day to sleep in and more time to spend with friends and family. But do we really understand why we are still laying in our beds at 10:00 on a Monday morning? Most students, myself included, will admit that they do not. President’s Day is a holiday of which many Americans do not understand the true meaning.

Originally established on February 22nd to celebrate the birthday of our first president, George Washington, the purpose of President’s Day has shifted many times since 1885, when it was created.

In 1971, President’s Day was added to a list of other Monday holidays, such as Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veteran’s Day, that make up the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law was introduced by Illinois’ very own Senator Robert McClory with the idea of giving the nation’s workers more three day weekends.

While those opposed to the law argued that it undermined the intended meaning of the holidays, the law passed through Congress and took effect after an executive order from President Richard Nixon.
Today, a majority of states recognize the third Monday of every February as “President’s Day.” While the holiday has its roots with George Washington, it is now intended to remind Americans of the impact that each of our 44 presidents has had on our country.

Mrs. Stone, a social studies teacher at Glenbard West, says that “President’s Day is important because it unites Americans and it should give us pause to remind ourselves about the sacrifice and dedication that our leaders have provided as part of their national service to keep our country thriving and intact.”
As we enter election year, a time that can make Americans aware of their differences, President’s Day serves as a reminder of our country’s origins with the patriotic sense of unity that it brings.