Sunday, February 17, 2013

"“Guard against the impostures

of pretended patriotism.” ~ George Washington

This holiday weekend used to be just Washington's Birthday.  The first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, it was implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879, and it used to be celebrated on Washington's birthday, February 22, but it shifted to the 3rd Monday in February via the Uniform Monday Holiday Act (no, I did not make that name up!). 

In 1951, a committee tried to create a generic Presidents Day to honor not one person but the office. They thought March 4 would work since that was the first Inauguration Day, but it stalled in Senate Judiciary Committee (again...nothing changes!) That committee felt that, because of its proximity to Lincoln's and Washington's Birthdays, three holidays so close together would be unduly burdensome. During this time, however, the Governors of a majority of the individual states issued proclamations declaring March 4 to be Presidents' Day in their respective jurisdictions, and so the "Uniform Holiday" comes in.  The name stayed Washington's Birthday despite a movement to call it "Presidents' Day", and it became law June 28, 1968.

Enter the 80s..."show me the money" decade...advertisers wanted the name changed to make it easier for sales promotions...and so welcome to a day to honor not Presidents nor the office but the 20% off or BOGO or whatever gimmick will work.
But, we could celebrate history with Liberty Blue china, made by Enoch Wedgwood, Staffordshire, England, in 1976 for our Bicentennial.  I bought a large stash of LB at auction, and, although it is packed away while we renovate and renew, it will be out for the summer.
And the platter does honor our first President...and not pictured here, but the stash includes more serving pieces as well as pieces that are not commonly seen.
So, enjoy your holiday...

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”~James Madison

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