How Presidents Day has evolved...

This is the Holiday which, as far as I can tell, is designed for Car Dealers more than it is to revere the men who made our country great.

When I was growing up we had separate holidays for Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday. The first honored the man who was our first President and who led us through the military activities of the Revolution. We also remembered every year that he voluntarily stepped down after two terms when he could easily have become a lifetime American King. The second holiday honored the man who kept our nation together, freed the slaves and suffered assassination.

These holidays were originally held on actual birthdates, no matter where in the week they fell. Then, as holidays and long weekends became inextricably connected in order to satisfy labor demands, they were moved to nearest Mondays on a regular basis. When it became clear from our corporate citizens (as defined by the Supreme Court last month) that we had too many holidays throwing business off… and wanting to make room for a holiday for Martin Luther King (highly deserved, btw), the birthdays of the two Presidents were combined into President’s Day.


Without a particular focus on a particular President, the holiday was easily co-opted by automobile dealers as the big sale holiday designed to get folks to part with money in the bleak month of February, thus cleaning out inventories before the Spring announcement of new models for the coming year. And that seems to be where we have stayed.


So happy President’s Day. Take the kids who are out of school with you to run around the showrooms (that will act as necessary protective measure… salesmen will get to their price more quickly just to get the little devils out of their sales area) as you shop for new wheels.

Have a good time.

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