Like several other holidays every year, the third Monday of every February is welcomed by many Americans with open arms as an inexplicable chance to enjoy another three-day weekend. But, what is the significance of this single day that everyone should be relieved of work for its coming and passing each year? Presidents’ Day is honored as appropriately as its title: it is a day held in celebration of our nation’s presidents from past and present. Beginning in 1885, Feb. 22 was established as a federal holiday in commemoration exclusively for one President: George Washington. Although legally still known to the executive as “Washington’s Birthday”, the holiday eventually became known more generically as “Presidents’ Day” after the passage of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was passed in 1971 as an effort to create more three-day weekends for American workers.
Popular belief, propaganda, and the close birthday of equally-accredited Abraham Lincoln (February 12) lulled the holiday into what is known as a nationwide anniversary today. Presidents’ Day is celebrated almost every day at Redlands’ Lincoln Memorial Shrine, which was open to the public at no cost on Feb. 20 from 1 - 5 pm. The Shrine contains valuable information and exhibits about President Abraham Lincoln in recognition for his contribution to our country, and honors the past President much like the holiday itself. Despite its lack of appreciation among much of the population, Presidents’ Day is still heartily celebrated in downtown Redlands!