I'm a Purist. I Celebrate Lincoln's Birthday Today.

mascotsFebruary 12 is Lincoln’s birthday. Once upon a time we even observed it as Lincoln’s Birthday. Nowadays Lincoln and Washington have birthdays together so that  many of us could indulge in  a 3-day weekend.

I liked it better when Lincoln had his own birthday. On the date that he was actually born. And Washington had  his own too, the 22nd of February.  Although in his case it really was yesterday, the 11th.  England dropped 11 days in 1752 when it went from the Julian to the Gregorian calender.  So for 21 years Washington celebrated his birthday on February 11, and the rest of his life on the 22nd.

I liked it better because two holidays were always better than one.  It made  a short month even shorter for anyone in school or on the job. If Lincoln’s birthday landed on a Monday, you could look forward to Washington’s a week from Thursday. And that’s how it was, as regular as the rising Sun.

Until the federal government got so big it decided to consolidate the dates and do some social engineering in the form of  weekend reconfiguring.

I don’t think it was fitting and proper to do this to our two greatest presidential icons.  And to two of our tallest presidents too.  I think it has contributed to reducing them in stature. And have you seen those furniture(?) commercials that have Lincoln and Washington impersonators clowning around? That’s what happens when you mess with their birthdays. They become mascots for a professional baseball team. Or  mercenary merchants start to  appropriate their images  to make a few more bucks.

It’s enough to bring tears to my eyes as I read  the Gettysburg Address.


Filed under: history, holidays


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  • Washington was a slave owner, his popularity is unsustainable.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    His will provided for freeing his slaves when Martha died. She herself freed them when he did. He supported the gradual abolition of the peculiar institution.

  • I absolutely agree with you, but sadly I hear upset revisionists more and more. I was just reading a WSJ article were one commenter referred to the Founding Fathers as a bunch of guys who owned slaves.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    I guess you missed that Thomas Jefferson fathered Sally Heming's child. Or that the DNA tests indicate either Tom or his brother did.*

    In that most of the Founding Fathers were from Virginia, this should be no shock. Also, they apparently had no problem with the 3/5tths compromise.

    The difference between north and south is that south didn't want to associate economically with Blacks, but had no problem having sex with their property, while northerners basically didn't want to associate socially with them.

    *I always wonder what Maury did in the case of identical twins.

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