However! The day gives us an excuse to quickly revisit the evolution of federal holidays.
We took this year's calendar and overlaid how the holidays would have looked had the laws passed in any given year been in effect. Yielding this:
1885: The first five federal holidays are enacted. New Year's Day, Christmas and Independence Day were already recognized in D.C. proper as of 1870, with Washington's Birthday added nine years later. Thanksgiving, which had been floating around since George Washington, was, too. But in 1885, they became the first five official federal holidays.
1888: Decoration Day is added. It eventually became Memorial Day.
1894: Labor Day enters the mix. The point of holidays was to "emphasize some great event or principle in the minds of the people by giving them a day of rest and recreation," the House Labor Committee figured (according to that Senate report), and so created a holiday to ensure that the "nobility of labor [would] be maintained."
1938: Congress creates Armistice Day, which then became Veterans Day after the idea of a perpetual armistice proved fleeting. It moved around a bit, but ended up on Nov. 11 in 1975.
1957: Inauguration Day was added to the calendar in years of a presidential inauguration. It only applies in the District.
1968: Congress went crazy. First, they moved a bunch of holidays to Mondays (including Veterans Day, which later got moved back). The goal here was to give people more time to celebrate -- and to reduce the number of people taking off more days when holidays fell mid-week. 1968 was also the year that gave us Columbus Day. The goal with that holiday was to give future Americans something to fight about.
1983: Speaking of things to fight about. In 1983, Congress finally formalized the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, after nearly passing it in 1979 and after being introduced in Congress after Congress. It took a bit for it to catch on.
If you're curious what may come next, Wikipedia lists a series of proposed federal holidays, including ones honoring Malcolm X, Susan B. Anthony and Cesar Chavez, who enjoys a state holiday in California. There's also a proposed Native Americans Day, which we toss out there for anyone who feels as though this particular article didn't do enough to encourage the debate over why the federal government is currently off.