Presidents Day Monday Feb. 21 has become one of those holidays where people wonder why their mail wasn’t delivered.
Of course, those who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal know something is up when there is no paper in their driveway.
Presidents Day is a federal holiday but not a state, city or county holiday. Guilford County Schools (GCS) are closed Monday, Feb. 21 and Tuesday, Feb. 22 but schools are often closed on days that aren’t official holidays. On Friday, Feb. 18 GCS opened two hours late because of wind.
Presidents Day started off as George Washington’s Birthday which is Feb. 22. It was widely celebrated as a holiday after Washington’s death in 1799 but didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1879.
In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which went into effect in 1971 and moved the holiday for Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February. Since Washington’s birthday is Feb. 22, the holiday never falls on his birthday and the bill also recognized President Abraham Lincoln, but the name of the holiday Washington’s Birthday was not changed. Lincoln’s birthday is Feb. 12 and the Presidents Day holiday can never fall on his birthday either.
The shift of the name to Presidents Day is largely the result of advertising. People in charge of marketing like the sound of a Presidents Day Sale and about half the states changed the name on their official calendars to Presidents Day.
Although Presidents Day is officially Washington’s Birthday and despite the name is also officially to recognize Washington and Lincoln, it is seen by many as a day to honor all presidents.
It is also a federal holiday that has fallen off the list of recognized holidays by some states, cities and counties. The stock markets and most banks are closed, but most businesses that don’t depend on the federal government to operate are open.