By David Joel Miller.
It is Presidents Day in the U. S. but why?
Today is the day we here in the United States celebrate “Presidents Day.” We are not the only country to celebrate the birthday of a president, patriot or king. Every day of the year appears to be a holiday to celebrate something somewhere.
This day could also be a Presidents day of sorts in Mexico where on this day in 1913 – Pedro Lascuráin became President of Mexico for 45 minutes; this is the shortest term to date of any person as president of any country. (See Wikipedia for that one.)
As a side note this is also the date in history when the Chicago Seven were found not guilty. Anyone want to celebrate Chicago and 1968 again?
Today is also the Birthday of Queen Mary I of England, Sri Ramakrishna, and a gazillion other famous people. Too many famous people died on this date to begin to list.
February 18th is women’s day in Iran which probably ties in nicely with including the great emancipator Lincoln in with the guests of honor for this birthday celebration.
Why is today, February 18th, 2013, and not some other day, Presidents Day here in the U. S.?
Originally this started as two separate celebrations, Washington’s Birthday which falls on February 22, and Lincoln’s Birthday which falls on February 12th.
For the record George Washington was born on February 11, 1731 but the calendar was changed in 1752 and his new birthday became February 22, 1732. All this happened before we became an independent country and began to muck-around with holidays and things.
This part is very confusing if you let accuracy influence you.
In 1971 the Uniform Mondays Holidays Act moved Washington’s Birthday to the Monday between February 15th and February 22. Thanks goodness he was not around then to have to learn a new birthday. This results in his birthday never being celebrated on his original birthday and only very rarely falling on his second revised birthday. Leave it to the government to muddy up even the Founding Fathers birthday.
So far the U. S. has had 44 presidents. Surely some of them deserve a day also? Historians repeatedly have ranked Franklin Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson among the top U. S. presidents. It hardly seems fair that neither of them get a birthday party.
Will Rogers was known to remark that this country’s greatest president was Calvin Coolidge because, while he didn’t do anything, no one wanted him to do anything either. Some of our current politicians should take a page from old Calvin’s play book. Why doesn’t he get a birthday holiday?
But then I suppose that if we were to start adding holidays willy-nilly every time some great event happens eventually we would all be off work every day and no one would ever work at all unless they were getting double time for working on a holiday.
This holiday should be set aside to remember all 44 of those guys who did the job of president. While we are remembering them consider also the thousands of people who started out to run for those 44 top spots and the millions who have said they could do a better job if they got the chance.
But then President Kennedy is reported as saying that no one should be too harsh in their judgment of a president if they had not sat behind that desk and make those decisions.
While I am not sure completely which presidents we should be honoring today I am quite sure this day should be about a whole lot more than a used car sale or some new furniture.
Regardless of who your country’s leader is just now let’s all think today about what it means to lead a people and to want better for them than what they have.
The great ones, like Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt and the others, get remembered for what they did for their country not what they got out of the gig for themselves.
You may not be president or prime minister, but what could you be doing today to help someone else? Helping others, being of service and remembering those who served is what this day should be about.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books