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The February Finesse

This year, February 16 has been designated "Presidents' Day Observed." We are being asked to "observe" something that day even though neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln was born on the 16th – if, indeed, those are the two presidents we are supposed to be honoring. It's not so easy to tell anymore.

I know, I know. The rationale behind this annual adjustment in the calendar – let's call it the February Finesse – is to give us a three-day weekend to deal with our midwinter doldrums. This year the 16th falls on the Monday between Lincoln's birthday (February 12) and Washington's birthday (February 22), and so presto: that date becomes the holiday – "Presidents' Day Observed."

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a three-day weekend as much as the next goof-off. But in going along with this Presidents' Day convenience, I fear we run the risk of losing the point of it all, especially when it comes to educating our kids.


Written by Gary Paul Gates

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