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The Madera Tribune

Washington’s birthday deserves better

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webmaster | 03/02/12

I cannot tell a lie. There’s a movement afoot to get rid of Presidents Day and restore Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays to their proper days — Feb. 22 for Washington and Feb. 12 for Lincoln.

Those pushing the idea say the significance of the day has been forgotten.

“We need to change the focus from celebrating sales at the mall,” said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., “to celebrating the significance of President Washington’s birth to the birth of our nation.”

The Associated Press reports Wolf was among several witnesses for the idea, including academics. One of those, Anne Neal, was quoted as saying, “Too many of our future leaders are graduating with a profound historical illiteracy that bodes ill for the future of the republic. “George Washington is no mere president.”

Well, that is the truth. George Washington was extraordinary. The more one reads about his life, the more one realizes that his like has rarely been seen since. While many great men and women were there at the birth of our nation, without Washington it never would have taken place.

His strength of character, his bravery and his intelligence were so profound the people wanted to make him king. But in his wisdom, he turned down that kingship — which he knew would be wrong — and retired from public life until called back to become president.

Compare Washington to the blindly ambitious politicians who populate Washington, D.C., today, and you get a stark picture of how great a man he was.

Celebrating his birthday with a Presidents Day Weekend sale seems shallow. Not that there’s anything wrong with weekend sales. It’s just that they have their places.

His birthday was moved to the third Monday in February to provide people with a three-day weekend. It’s time to change it back, and make it a true day of remembrance.


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