Public holidays are expensive for our government, and there is a natural resistance against multiplying them, and actually a tendency in the other direction, to cut back when possible. This is the reality that cut George Washington out of his own special day, and the same is true for Honest Abe Lincoln. I regret this because I think that their contributions to the reality that is the United States of America is so massive, so important, so permanently transformative as to forever have given them their own special day.
Every little child in the country heard the George Washington stories, several of which are actually true! Remember the cherry tree? Every struggling young adult has had the example of Abe Lincoln’s determination in the face of adversity placed before him many times. Now, our kids are told “rejoice and be glad, because today is President’s day!” Do you think that will excite a ten year old, or encourage a discouraged law student? I doubt it.
Despite this sad merger, each of us is free to continue to spotlight the influence that these two national heroes have had in our own individual lives. George Washington is still touching each one of us, and Abraham Lincoln continues to give an example of faithfulness and integrity that is desperately needed in our country today.
The presidency is probably the single most difficult job in our society. We should be thankful that there are men and women willing to seek it, and thankful that when and if they achieve it, they make every effort to give it their best.