Friday, February 22, 2008

2 /22 ? It?s Not Right


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

It's Feb. 22, George Washington's birthday. So what were we celebrating last Monday? Presidents Day, you say? A common misconception is that Presidents Day was designed to encompass Washington's birthday and Abraham Lincoln's birthday (Feb. 12), or that it's the celebration of all U.S. presidents. Wrong!

In 1968, the 90th Congress of the USA came up with the idea of the "Uniform Monday Holiday Bill" to benefit American families, American travel and America's small businesses. The idea was backed by organizations like the Chamber of Commerce of the USA, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Travel Organizations and the National Retail Federation. Presidents' birthday sales could now run from the 12th of February to the 22nd or, in some states, all the way to the end of February. But what about George and Abe? Where are their celebrations? What about their needs?

Do children today know who these guys are? The 22nd is also the birthday of Dr. J. (Julius Erving), Drew Barrymore and "The Miracle on Ice," the day when the U.S. Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Union Hockey Team at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. These celebrations are recognized but not the two most famous men in American history. It's just not right.

Washington's Birthday was dissolved into Presidents Day, which is now celebrated on the third Monday in February. Lincoln's Birthday has been forgotten and lost. These two guys were the first "American Idols." Now their birth milestones have been swallowed up by Madison Avenue, which profits from holiday three-day sales like Labor Day. They've already bastardized St. Valentine's Day to say nothing of the entire Christmas season.

We have just so many heroes nowadays. We need these guys. America's memory is eroding rapidly. History is becoming a blur. Everything is now. Last Friday is just so lame, dude.

And, who was the president of the United States when the "Uniform Monday Holiday Law" was enacted in 1971? Richard Nixon! Yes, that's right, Richard Nixon, the "father" of Watergate and the missing 18-minute tapes. "I'm not a crook," he said. Remember that? We remember him more then George and Abe now.

On a date that heralds the inaugural of the first transcontinental air mail route, the last time all four "Beatles" were together for a recording session and the cloning of an adult sheep named "Dolly," we have lost two superstars. It's not right, I tell ya.

Nice talking to you.




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