Presidents' Day Observed Every Third Monday In February

8:09 AM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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Since the 1800s, America has celebrated a day to honor our first President that soon became a national holiday.

And if you haven't checked your calendar, Monday, Feb. 18, is Presidents' Day. It is always celebrated the third Monday in February. 

It also means no activity on Wall Street and no postal service; some school systems and some banks may also be closed on Monday.

Background: According to History.com, George Washington's Birthday was an unofficial observance for Presidents' Day. It was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday. Sen. Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas was the first to propose the measure, and in 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law.

The holiday initially only applied to the District of Columbia, but in 1885 it was expanded to the whole country.

In the late 1960s, Washington's birthday was changed to Presidents' Day when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Senator Robert McClory of Illinois took on the cause, which sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation's workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism. A debate followed that shifting holidays from their original dates would cheapen their meaning, however, the bill also had widespread support from both the private sector and labor unions and was seen as a way to bolster retail sales.

Thus the doors opened for retail establishments to market and capitalize on Presidents' Day sales across the country.

Click here to learn more about Presidents' Day.

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