Wolf: Observe Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22
Posted: February 15, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Presidents Day, while still officially recognized as the Washington’s Birthday holiday by the federal government, hasn’t been celebrated on the day of his birth in more than 40 years.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, however, wants to go back to recognizing the first U.S. president’s birthday on Feb. 22 — Washington’s actual birthday — rather than the third Monday in February, which is Presidents Day.
Wolf reintroduced legislation to move Washington’s birthday this week. He introduced similar legislation in 2011.
In a phone interview Thursday, Wolf said that George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens, along with several Washington scholars, have all lent support to the legislation.
Wolf called Washington the country’s greatest president and said the values he stood for — including responsibility, honesty and integrity — are ones that should be recognized and taught in association with a Washington holiday. He stressed the importance of a Washington holiday for Virginians since Washington was born and raised in colonial Virginia.
He added that the current congressional session will be a “make or break session” for the proposed legislation.
“We need to re-establish Washington’s birthday on the actual date of his birth to honor his legacy, and in doing so call upon schools across the nation to focus on Washington as the soldier, legislator and president who shepherded our young nation through war, political turmoil, rebellion and expansion as no other single individual was capable of doing,” Wolf stated in a news release, issued Wednesday.
Cissy Shull, executive director of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society — which operates the George Washington’s Office museum in Winchester — said Thursday that she would be in favor of moving the holiday back to the day of his birth.
“George was so important for this country that he deserves his own day,” she said. “When George Washington was in office he kind of set a precedent for everything that’s gone on since.”
Shull added that the lessons Washington learned when he was working as a surveyor and military officer in Winchester served him well throughout his life.
“I think one of the things you could appreciate about the man was that he wanted to do the right thing,” Shull said. “He did what he thought was best.”
The Washington’s Birthday holiday was changed to the third Monday in February to include recognition of Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is Feb. 12, and to give federal employees a three-day weekend.
The historical society will host an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Monday — Presidents Day — at George Washington’s Office, located at 32 W. Cork St., to commemorate his birthday.
Additional information on the proposed legislation is available online at wolf.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=422.
— Contact Matt Armstrong email@example.com