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Geo. Washington’s birthday should be observed on Feb. 22, asserts Rep. Wolf

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today testified at a hearing on his bill (HR 2268) to change the federal holiday celebrating George Washington’s birthday back to its actual date – February 22 – instead of the third Monday in February, which is commonly referred to as President’s Day:

Wolf spoke to the subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Other witnesses, according to Wolf’s office, were noted author Richard Brookhiser, Anne D. Neal, president, American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and Lucia Henderson, vice regent, Mount Vernon Ladies Association.  Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) are cosponsors of Wolf’s bill.  Identical legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Mark Warner (D-VA).)”

Wolf was quoted as saying, “Mr. Chairman, thank you for convening this hearing to discuss the importance of honoring George Washington on February 22.  Last Wednesday marked the 280th anniversary of his birth, yet most Americans celebrated a generic “Presidents Day” holiday two days earlier instead.  Hardly any mention is made of the real purpose of the federal holiday, which is to honor Washington’s birth.

“Does anyone here today celebrate your birthday on the third Monday of a month? Of course not.  So why do we diminish the memory of the greatest American by turning his birthday into nothing more than a three-day weekend? The legislation you are considering today will remedy this glaring problem. I have long admired President Washington and have found inspiration in public service from studying his life.”

Wolf said “Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian David McCullough, who supports this legislation, recently observed, ‘We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate.’  I believe Congress has unwittingly contributed to this lack of historical understanding by relegating Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday of February to take advantage of a three-day weekend.”

“We need to change the focus from celebrating sales at the mall to celebrating the significance of President Washington’s birth to the birth of our nation,” Wolf concluded.

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