When is George Washington’s birthday? The third Monday in February? No. And Virginia lawmakers don’t want you to think so.
A House subcommittee plans to hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would move the nation’s observance of the first president’s birthday to Feb. 22, the actual date of his birth. The nation has marked the special day for more than 40 years on the third Monday in February.
But Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and several of his Old Dominion colleagues think it’s time to celebrate the holiday properly.
“President Washington exemplifies the best that America and American’s have to offer the world,” Wolf said in a statement announcing the hearing and noting that today, Washington’s birthday “has simply become a time to celebrate a three-day weekend. We need to change the focus from celebrating sales at the mall to celebrating the significance of Washington’s birth to our nation.”
(Full disclosure: Taking full advantage of that three-day weekend, this reporter purchased a new mattress on discount over the recent Presidents’ Day/Washington’s Birthday Weekend.)
Wolf introduced the measure last June and has signed up Reps. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) and James Moran (D-Va.) as co-sponsors. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced a Senate companion measure.
Washington’s first elective office was from Winchester, which is located in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, the one that Wolf represents. Connolly’s district is home to Washington’s famous estate, Mount Vernon, and Moran’s district begins just north of the home, which remains a popular Northern Virginia tourist destination.
Jim Rees, president and CEO of the Mount Vernon estate, said the media, advertisers and the general public have all but abandoned any recognition of Washington and have “replaced it with a commercial ‘shopping holiday’ that leaves American history and patriotism by the side of the road.”
“We look forward to the day, when once again, February 22 is marked by patriotic festivities and lessons about the life of George Washington,” Rees added.
Of course, many of those lessons are offered at the famed estate, right?
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