Gov. Jerry Brown observed Monday, Sept. 9, as California Admission Day, and even issued a proclamation declaring it. He may have been the only person to celebrate it, at least as far as most Maderans may be aware.
Yet, in his proclamation, Brown offers a history lesson, and a reminder of California’s early days:
The observance of Admission Day was once prominent in the civic life of our state and nation.
“On Sept. 9, 1924,” he writes, “by order of President Coolidge, the Bear Flag flew over the White House in honor of California’s admission to the Union. In 1976, I vetoed a measure to remove the observance of Admission Day as a state holiday, writing:
‘For 125 years California has celebrated its admission into the Union on Sept. 9. To change now comes a bit late in our history and hardly seems in keeping with the Bicentennial Spirit.’
In 1984, however, Gov. Deukmejian signed legislation eliminating our traditional observance of Admission Day on Sept. 9 in favor of a ‘personal’ holiday — convenient to some but in no way respectful of our storied founding.”
As I am sure is the case with many Californians, I was unaware Monday was a personal holiday. It certainly is not a paid holiday, so if one takes Sept. 9 as a personal holiday, one either has to take it on one’s own nickel, or take it only when it falls on one’s day off. Some people might like to have it as a paid day off, but only if they weren’t the ones doing the paying. Employers probably wouldn’t go for it.
Yet, it does seem fitting to remember that bit of history, that time when California became one of the United States, Sept. 9, 1850. Back then, that was no small thing. Who could have known then that California would grow to become the nation’s most populous, most creative and most economically prosperous state? That, by itself, makes the day worth remembering.