We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.


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John Eyster
Friday, February 22, 2013

TODAY is George Washington’s REAL birthday!

His REAL birthday was celebrated widely during his lifetime and then became a FEDERAL HOLIDAY already in 1879. Federal law shifted the LEGAL HOLIDAY in 1971 as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to provide for more 3-day weekends for FEDERAL employees. Is that a GOOD reason?!

COMMENDATION & GRATITUDE to WCLO RADIO for reminding listeners this morning that TODAY is GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY! A+ today!!

If you want to review more of the life of George Washington, I encourage you to read Wikipedia’s feature article, “George Washington.”

Politically, George Washington’s Farewell Address has a great deal of WISDOM which is RELEVANT to WE THE PEOPLE of the US today. I urge you to read and study his Farewell Address using Wikipedia’s feature article with full text, “George Washington’s Farewell Address.”

TODAY is NOT a WISCONSIN legal holiday, but it is a LEGALLY REQUIRED “SCHOOL OBSERVANCE DAY.” Wisconsin does have the LEGAL “President’s Day” holiday aligned with the FEDERAL “George Washington’s Birthday” holiday. The DIFFERENT of names of the holiday is accurate as reflected in State and Federal laws!

Following up on the issue of George Washington’s Birthday as a LEGAL holiday, I learned a lot reading Wikipedia’s feature article, “Washington’s Birthday.” This is a valuable historical review of our celebration of George Washington’s birthday whether on his REAL birthday or on a HOLIDAY.

The HOLIDAY was set by the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” signed into law on June 28, 1968 by President Johnson which went into effect for the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT on January 1, 1971. States gradually adopted the provisions with dates of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968. Federal holidays and State holidays are legally separate, but often coincide. For example, “Washington’s Birthday” is a FEDERAL HOLIDAY, but it is NOT a WI STATE HOLIDAY.

“Washington’s Birthday” on February 22 is one of the “Wisconsin Public School Observance Days” set by our WI State legislature with gubernatorial signature. There are 21 such observance days. If you want to read more about the legal requirements of the observance days and the FULL LIST of the days with explanation of the significance of each, use this link to “Wisconsin Public School Observance Days” on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s website.

There is NO federal holiday identified as “Presidents’ Day”! This label is a development generated by advertisers in the mid-1980’s. This leaves one to argue whether one is going to use “President’s Day” (singular) or “Presidents’ Day” (plural). I use PLURAL! What do YOU use?

Each state has the authority to set up its own holidays with states using different labels. If you want to see a list of the various legal holidays in the various states, use this link to the “infoplease” website article, “State Holidays.” Very interesting! Note the diversity among our states!!

Focusing on George Washington’s Birthday, I learned about variants on state celebrations reading Ann Marie Imbornoni’s article published by “infoplease,” “Presidents’ Day or Washington’s Birthday?” If you want to learn more, use the link to Ann’s article above.

The gist of the relationship between FEDERAL holidays and STATE holidays is articulated by Ann, “Well, according to the federal government, the holiday observed on the third Monday in February is officially Washington's Birthday. But many Americans believe that this holiday is now called "Presidents' Day," in honor of both Presidents Washington and Lincoln, whose birthdays are Feb. 22 and Feb. 12, respectively. It turns out that whether you honor one or the other or both of these presidents may depend on where you live.”

Ann continues noting, “States Decide on Holidays - The states are not obliged to adopt federal holidays, which only affect federal offices and agencies. While most states have adopted Washington's Birthday, a dozen of them officially celebrate Presidents' Day. A number of the states that celebrate Washington's Birthday also recognize Lincoln's Birthday as a separate legal holiday.”

The list of LEGAL WISCONSIN holidays includes “President’s Day” (singular) aligned with the FEDERAL “Washington’s Birthday” holiday. If you want to check the LEGAL HOLIDAYS in WI, you can use this link to “FindLaw’s,” “Wisconsin Legal Holidays Laws.”


Here we go…

Mr. E.

Last updated: 9:24 am Monday, April 29, 2013

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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