The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Holiday honors two U.S. presidents

Holiday honors two U.S. presidents

By Chris Rincon/reporter

presidentsOnce again, it is that time between New Year’s and spring break when we get advertisements thrown at us from all sides.

For some people, this period is a good time to save money and shop while to most others, it is a three-day weekend.

But does anyone remember just what holiday this is?

It is a federal holiday called Presidents Day, which means federal employees have this day off while the rest of us have to work.

This day is designated to celebrate the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and has been set as the third Monday in February since 1968.

But many people do not know the reason for the day’s celebration. Both presidents are known for many things.

Most know the story of Washington’s chopping down a cherry tree.

And all school children are told about Lincoln’s studying by firelight and doing his homework on the back of a shovel.

For greater accomplishments, Washington was known for leading the troops against the British in winning independence Oct. 19, 1781, and Lincoln for freeing slaves by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation Sept. 22, 1862. 

Both these accomplishments were worthy of having honor bestowed upon them in the form of a national holiday and day of recognition.

Dr. Jeffrey Stone of the SE Campus history department said the concept of Presidents Day can be confusing regarding who is honored and why.

“[The holiday] seems to have been retooled several times to fit contemporary needs of the federal government,” he said.

What is certain is the prevalence of sales and advertising during this time.

“Today most of my TCC students, and most people I know, associate the holiday with two concepts: Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, and Presidents Day sales,” he said.

Mary Buinger, an instructor in the history department on NE Campus, felt rather negatively about the holiday.

“Monday holidays are certainly convenient for federal employees, but by calling it ‘Presidents Day,’ I think some of the honor that these two outstanding presidents deserve is lost,” she said.

Jennifer Rooth, a SE Campus student, agrees with Buinger.

“Presidents Day is for retailers; it is no longer for the general public,” she said.

As a Marine, Rooth said she thinks the historical value of both presidents should have some acknowledgement other than just having a day off.

SE Campus student Julie Swink said most holidays have suffered a similar fate. However, she said the method of celebration can be different if it is made that way by the individual.

“I’m big on traditions, she said. “But we don’t have to let Presidents Day become commercial like Christmas.”

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