President’s Day is a Federal holiday formerly known as Washington’s Birthday. George Washington, our first president, was born on February 22, 1732 was celebrated on February 22nd until a Monday holiday bill passed in 1971 making the legal holiday the third Monday in February.
Renaming the holiday Presidents’ Day and making it universal in all fifty states allows anyone to celebrate any president they choose. While February 22nd was the only Federal holiday honoring a U.S. President, there have been many states honoring one of two others. Most states north of the Mason-Dixon line have celebrated the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12th; in Dixie, they celebrate the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on June 3rd. But the beauty of calling it Presidents’ Day is the opportunity to pay honor to presidents other than Washington and Lincoln (and Davis).
The Great Ronald Reagan, who with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt, was the greatest president of the twentieth century. Reagan is my founding father, as well as a founding father of all of us who share the conservative vision to redefine America as the land of opportunity and not entitlements. The conservative movement started in his years as president and with a booming economy in the 1980s, people realized you couldn’t argue with success and joined the movement. Like Washington and Lincoln, Reagan has a February birthday, February 6, 1911.
I could not forget Teddy Roosevelt. If I could choose to interview one deceased president, I would want to interview Teddy. One question I would have liked to ask him is why he chose not to run again in 1908? Taft was no T.R., and America could have used is wisdom four more years. Especially since his cousin Franklin served three terms (got elected to a fourth), and Franklin is the founding father of entitlements; which we now know was a mistake.
To give credit where credit is due, Barrack Obama can be included. Although I will never be on board with his liberal politics, he did break the color line and no matter what, he will always have the distinction of being America’s first African American president. He did face the same adversities and Jackie Roosevelt Robinson did when he broke the color line in Major League Baseball. Mets broadcaster emeritus Ralph Kiner always said Jackie was an outstanding football player, basketball player, and track and field athlete; he’s in the Hall of Fame in baseball and that was his worst sport. Jackie was an excellent baseball player; he was just that much better in the other three sports. Barrack Obama will follow a similar legacy; he will be remembered by people who were associated with him as a social organizer, U.S. Senator, and any titles or offices he held before the senate, but that President of the United States was his worst occupation. Nonetheless, I give him credit for what he did for not only African Americans, but for all minority races discriminated against in the past (and present to a degree), and for the Caucasian race as well for opening many eyes.
All in all, Happy Presidents’ Day, no matter which presidents you wish to honor.