John W. Eyster: Today is not President's Day in Wisconsin
TODAY is “Washington's Birthday” federal holiday. TODAY is not a state holiday.
I too was surprised to learn that our US Congress did NOT create the identity, “President's Day” for the 3rd Monday of February when it passed the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” which was signed into law by President Johnson on June 28, 1968 and took effect on January 1, 1971. If you are interested in a full report on the law, I suggest reading Wikipedia's article, “Uniform Monday Holiday Act.”
That article specifically reports, “The Act did not officially establish 'President's Day,' nor did it combine the observance of Lincoln's Birthday with Washington's Birthday. The perception stems from the fact that the act placed federal observance of Washington's 'birthday' in the week of February 15 to 21 and, since that week always falls between Lincoln's birthday (February 12) and Washington's (February 22), but never includes either date, popular references have given rise to the title, which recognizes both Presidents. As of 1998, a dozen U.S. states officially refer to the holiday as 'Presidents' Day.'”
WISCONSIN has NOT identified either Lincoln's or Washington's birthday as a state holiday. Both are, however, a required “school observance day” in WI state law.
What do YOU think? Should our US Congress change the identity of the 3rd Monday in February from “Washington's Birthday” to “Presidents' Day” to honor ALL US PRESIDENTS? Should our WI State Legislature identify the 3rd Monday in February as “Washington's Birthday” or “Presidents' Day”? I hope YOU will comment and explain your recommendation.
For more discussion about Washington's Birthday, I suggest you check out: Wikipedia's article, “Washington's Birthday” and/or the excellent summary about “Washington's Birthday” and “Presidents' Day” entitled “Public Holidays United States. Overview of STATE designations for February 17, 2014—WI absent."
I cited our WI State Law setting 21 school observance days in my WE THE PEOPLE post on Abraham Lincoln's Birthday last Tuesday, 2/12, “Happy 205th birthday, Abraham Lincoln!” If you want to review that list of days, use this link.
For “George Washington's Birthday” WI state law identifies February 22 to be the school observance day with the DPI notes, “George Washington is honored for his efforts to create a new nation dedicated to the rights of the people. He was commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. In 1789, he was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.” WI state law did NOT move the school observance to the 3rd Monday of February when the federal government set up the Monday holiday.
What are YOU observing today? “Washington's Birthday”? “President's Day”? “Presidents' Day”?
I'm observing “Washington's Birthday”!
John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Whitewater and an advocate for Project Citizen, a model curriculum for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.