President’s Day

Washington’s Birthday, the federal holiday was originally implemented by the United States Congress in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia (20 Stat. 277) and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices (23 Stat. 516). As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents’ Day to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, but this proposal failed in committee and the bill as voted on and signed into law on June 28, 1968 kept the name Washington’s Birthday.

In Massachusetts, while the state officially celebrates “Washington’s Birthday,” state law also prescribes that the governor issue an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring the presidents that have come from Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy. MGL Chapter 6: Section 15VV (Coolidge, the only one born outside of Massachusetts, spent his entire political career before the vice presidency there. George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, was born in Massachusetts, but has spent most of his life elsewhere.)

— From Wikipedia


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  1. Beaton Law Firm » George Washington’s birthday - February 22, 2010

    […] attorney Doug Cornelius has a nice blog post on the history of the day, and how drifted into being just another Monday holiday. « New […]