I grew up in a time when Washington’s birthday was not only observed on February 22, but was celebrated with the Fannie Farmer chocolate hatchet honoring the mythical story told about Washington by Parson Weems. In 1968 Washington’s Birthday was moved to the third Monday in February by virtue of the Uniform Holidays Bill. It has subsequently become the nondescript Presidents’ Day by which we know it today. Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan and Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, we salute you one and all.
How can you move a guy’s birthday? It’s kind of a postmodern thing to do. Well, you can’t. It’s just the holiday observing it that has gone mobile. How fitting that the deed was done in the annus horribilis of 1968.
We used to revere Washington as the Father of our Country. We were grateful to him because we know it to be a good country, founded on the principle by which we stake the deed of our freedom. Now I wonder if we could even agree to honor Washington. I doubt it.
I will be back to celebrate Washington’s birthday on Washington’s birthday. I will offer a few facts about this truly great man about whom, as Churchill said in another context, facts are better than dreams.