Saturday, February 15, 2014

Presidents' Day Postcards

Presidents' Day, Presidents Day, or President's Day?    
Or where to put the apostrophe?
Take a look at several different announcements for Presidents Day! Did you notice that the apostrophe comes, goes and changes locations? The bouncing apostrophe suggests a certain uncertainty. When it is written as "President’s Day" it suggests that only one holder of the nation’s supreme job is being commemorated,  presumably George Washington. While, "Presidents’ Day" written like this hints at more than one president, most likely Washington plus Lincoln, our two greatest presidents are being honored. And finally "Presidents Day", the apostrophe-less version,  strongly suggests a patriotic celebration of all forty-four presidents -- Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Pierce, F.D.R., James Buchanan, Harry Truman, Warren Harding and all the others. So what does it mean to you? Is George Washington being commemorated?  Perhaps just our two greatest presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are being remembered? Or is this day a celebration of the accomplishments of all forty-four United States Presidents?  You decide.

President's Day: George Washington's Birthday
After George Washington died on December 14, 1799 his birthday, February 22 became a day of remembrance. George Washington was regarded as hero and an important figure in American history.  In 1879, President Rutherford B Hayes signed a law making Washington's birthday a federal holiday in Washington D. C.  By 1885, the whole country observed Washington's birthday as a national holiday.

Presidents' Day: Washington and Lincoln's Birthday
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act created a 3 day weekend for the nations working people by shifting  Washington's birthday and Lincoln's birthday remembrance to the third Monday of February.  This lead the many people to believe that this holiday was now intended to commemorate the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  By 2000, most of the states changed the holiday's name to Presidents' Day.

Presidents Day: All US Presidents Honored
Today many states view Presidents Day a time to remember and celebrate the accomplishments of all forty-three United States presidents.   School children learn about all of the presidents but the emphasis is still concentrated on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. However, on official calendars, the third Monday in February is still listed as Washington's Birthday.

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