President’s Day: The Forgotten February Holiday


In the wake of the deadly Boston Massacre, the deaths of eight colonists loomed over the battlefield and blood stained the muskets of 14 British soldiers. The trial for these soldiers took place in Boston, a colony that had already deemed the 14 men guilty before the start of trial. Despite numerous objections, a brave lawyer named John Adams made the courageous decision to represent the British soldiers because of his core belief that no man should be without a lawyer. Three decades later, important decisions like this propelled Adams to the White House.

Now, the only day to remember the legacies of Adams and 45 other presidents is a day of Macy’s sales and no work slapped on the third Monday of February. Forty-six presidents being cherished on one day at best insignificantly honors their legacies. The overwhelming disregard for past presidents and the idea of celebrating just a couple of presidents on Presidents’ Day needs to change.

Washington’s Birthday, the federally recognized name for Presidents’ Day, originated in the 1800s. At the time, the federal government’s intentions appeared heroic and important to recognize George Washington’s sacrifices. Now, a holiday with pure intentions creates a muddle of confusion. A simple misconception in name may seem

insignificant, but it accurately symbolizes the little commemoration past presidents receive today. This misconception leaves confusion and misunderstanding.

In 2020, Newsweek conducted a study and found that 13 states don’t celebrate Presidents’ Day or Washington’s Birthday, 10 states celebrate just Washington’s Birthday, 23 states celebrate Presidents’ Day, and one state, Alabama, somehow managed to tie in Abraham Lincoln. Despite only one day to celebrate, there is one common denominator – confusion. Fifty states cannot agree on the most simple basis of the holiday, who or what the holiday celebrates.

Part of the confusion around Presidents’ Day stems from the simple disregard millions of people feel. Many people believe Presidents’ Day is any other day, just with bonus sales. Many people fail to look beyond sales because they simply don’t care. This troublesome fact is all too evident and leaves 46 presidents without yearly recognition. 

Presidents’ Day is important to celebrate because serving as the President of the United States is among the most prestigious and powerful roles in the world. To be president means to hold the weight of the world on one’s shoulders. With some exceptions, those

who serve as president dedicate their lives to serving the public and making the world a better place. Without yearly recognition, there are no other occasions for the celebration of presidents.

The best option to change the current narrative is a greater effort by the public to celebrate Presidents’ Day. No hope of improvement exists without effort from Americans to learn about the heroic legacies of past presidents. Even simple choices like learning fun facts about past presidents for 10 minutes on Presidents’ Day instead of rushing to Macy’s paves the pathway of change.

Those opposed to the increased  celebration of Presidents’ Day argue that not all presidents should be celebrated. But, to celebrate the holiday, an individual does not need to agree with every policy of every president. While some presidents unfortunately committed acts that may now be considered universally unacceptable, it is important to still commemorate the presidents who fought to create a better society.  

It is too late to save the eight colonists who tragically died during the Boston Massacre, but it is not too late to save the legacies of 46 presidents. A greater appreciation for Presidents’ Day should follow in the footsteps of Adams’ heroic decision two centuries ago, not the one-day shopping spree at Macy’s.