I agree with the argument that Colleen J. Shogan [letters, Feb. 23] made that Presidents' Day is aptly named because it honors all who have served in our country's highest office. I would take the argument a step further and challenge the contention in the Feb. 19 editorial that the third Monday in January appropriately honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. alone.

There is no question that Rev. King was a great man and that his distinguished work stands at the forefront of the civil rights movement in this country. But there were thousands of people who devoted their lives -- and hundreds who, like Rev. King, gave their lives -- for this noble cause.

It is undemocratic and, I think, un-American to create a national holiday to honor one person. The act of establishing a secular holiday necessarily elevates that person to iconic status and only serves to mythologize the individual. It would be far wiser to change Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Civil Rights Day to honor all of those who contributed to this most difficult and dangerous mission.

Timing this day of recognition to coincide with Rev. King's birthday would be appropriate and would serve as sufficient honor to distinguish his unique and inspirational role.