photo of mount rushmore national memorialPhoto by Jeanetta Richardson-Anhalt

We delve into the curious tale of Presidents Day, a federal holiday shrouded in historical intrigue and modern-day commercialism. Originally christened as Washington’s Birthday, this holiday celebrated the revered first President of the United States, George Washington, on his actual birthday, February 22nd. However, its journey took a twist with the passage of the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, aiming to grant federal employees more extended weekends. This legislation anchored the holiday to the third Monday of February, causing it to expand beyond Washington’s sole commemoration to encompass all U.S. presidents, including the likes of Abraham Lincoln.

But how did Presidents Day transition from a solemn remembrance to a carnival of sales, particularly for automobiles? The roots of this phenomenon trace back to the late 1800s, where companies capitalized on the holiday’s rising popularity by hosting sales events, initially focusing on bicycles. Today, Presidents Day is synonymous with commercial promotions, eclipsing traditional celebrations like parades or fireworks.

Yet, amidst the sea of retail frenzy, Presidents Day retains its significance as a moment to reflect on the nation’s leadership. From patriotic ceremonies to visits to iconic presidential monuments like Mount Rushmore, Americans honor their past leaders with reverence and pride. As a federal holiday, most government employees enjoy a well-deserved day off, fostering opportunities for leisure and exploration across the country.

In an era marked by diverse opinions on current political figures, one thing remains constant: the enduring legacy of former presidents. Across the United States, cities and landmarks bear the names of these esteemed leaders, serving as a reminder of their lasting impact on the nation’s history.

So, as we navigate through the whirlwind of Presidents Day sales and festivities, let us not forget the rich tapestry of American democracy woven by those who have held the highest office in the land.

A History Of Our Weirdest Federal Holiday: Presidents Day (

What is Presidents Day? Is it a federal holiday? Everything to know (

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