Presidents’ Day: What does it honor and why?

By: Janvi Amin

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   As students drudge through second semester, one of the events that keeps them motivated is the Monday they have off in February. Aside from being a shorter month, and featuring a leap year in 2020, February holds two holidays requiring CVUSD students to take a break from school. This holiday is Presidents’ Day. Despite the positive impact this holiday has on a stressed and overworked student’s life, not many people know what the day is actually dedicated to. Junior Kylie Chang stated, “I’m not really sure what Presidents’ Day is, but I’m glad we have it off.” 

     Although the holiday is most often referred to as “Presidents’ Day” in popular speech, the observed federal holiday is officially called “Washington’s Birthday.” Neither Congress nor the President has ever formally declared that the name of the holiday observed as Washington’s Birthday be changed to Presidents’ Day. Additionally, Congress has never declared a national holiday binding in all states and each state decides its own legal holidays. This is why there are some calendar discrepancies when it comes to this holiday’s date, and why some school districts take the day off and others don’t. When told the meaning behind the holiday, junior Aliza Corona stayed that, “[she] didn’t know that’s what the holiday is for but at least I know now.”

     Calling the holiday Presidents’ Day helps us reflect on not just the first president, but also the founding of our nation, the values, and what Washington calls in his Farewell Address, the “beloved Constitution and union, as received from the Founders.” Additionally, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday also is in February (the 12th), so by calling the holiday “Presidents’ Day,” we can encompass this great president in our celebrations as well.

     Today, Presidents’ Day marks a break for Ayala students, and sales all over chain stores. Businesses have profited over “Presidents’ Day Sales” and contributed more to the consumer economy of the United States. Senior Kaiya Anunciado mentioned that, “Most stores have sales so I like to go shopping for some clothes before spring comes.” In contrast to this “celebration” of the day, most government agencies such as post offices and the DMV are closed. 

     Presidents’ Day is a holiday to remind people of the presidents that have created a positive impact to the United States, and honor the work and time that has gone into building up the country to what it is today.