Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Holiday Has Lost its Significance

Though it never made the New York Times in the Daily News the caption red "Let Abe and George Stand Apart."  Today's journal entry is inspired by an Op-Ed column by actor Richard Dreyfuss.

When I was growing up we celebrated Lincoln's Birthday (state holiday) on Feburary 12 and Washington's Birthday (federal holiday) on February 22.  Back in my P.S. 139 days we had class discussions on the significance of the two presidents' contributions to American History.  If I remember correctly in the 1970s Presidents Day was designated as a holiday on the third Monday in February.  At that point all New York City schools were closed that "Presidents Week" to save on fuel to heat the buildings.

Let me quote Dreyfuss - "Presidents' Day whitewashes Washington's and Lincoln's unique virtues - and lumps them with our worst leaders"

I don't know how elementary school teachers discuss this newer holiday.  Are Lincoln and Washington no longer glorified?  The average American is happy to have a day off and spend the day at the shopping mall to take advantage of Presidents' Day sales.  Sadly, most holidays have lost their significance.

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