Presidents Day is a national holiday for some, but there are 10 states that still honor Lincoln’s Birthday in 2011. Still, it’s a special day, say Lincoln City locals, to “thank our leaders who held the most difficult and demanding job in the world.”
“We are honored by Lincoln’s name and his legacy. We place the American flag around Lincoln City today because Presidents Day is our namesake’s special day,” says local Stuart Bloomfledt, while helping with one of the displays of 44 American flags in honor of each of the American presidents, to include President Barack Obama who, like Lincoln, are politicians from Illinois.
Confusing holiday for some
At the same time, students here in this coastal resort town are on holiday -- as are most American kids -- today in honor of “something that’s more than just confusing,” say locals here in Lincoln City.
“Because our town is named Lincoln City, we always focused our celebrations on Lincoln’s birthday, February 12. My grandson told me that there was never a real national holiday for old Abe, yet 30 or more states celebrated it back in the day when our town honored Lincoln’s birthday,” explained Bloomfledt over coffee at a popular Lincoln City café where photos of President Lincoln line the walls.
In turn, a Lincoln Memorial fact sheet states that “the national holiday for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday changed in 1971 when it became Presidents Day with a new national holiday after combining Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthday’s.”
Still, such information “just adds to the confusion,” asserts Bloomfledt, “because we should still honor Abe Lincoln.”
Presidents Day a mistake, says famous actor
Richard Dreyfuss, the Academy Award winning actor who’s portrayed American leaders, to include former Vice President Dick Cheney in the movie “W,” seems just as confused as locals in Lincoln City, Oregon, about the change from a special holiday for Lincoln and Washington to one day that honors all American presidents.
Dreyfuss writes in the New York Daily News today that by creating Presidents Day – which combines Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays – “we had lost both men and forced them to share acclaim with far lesser presidents such as John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison and Franklin Pierce.”
The actor then takes issues with a view in this country to “opt for convenience instead of close scrutiny.”
In the case of today’s Presidents Day, Dreyfuss writes: “In this we choose easy faux-devotion - and make impossible the substantive understanding of two great leaders' contributions, personalities, virtues and flaws. Worse still, by removing their names from the now-antiseptic celebration, we have made Washington and Lincoln seem as small as politicians whom history has arbitrarily thrown up to the heights of our system.”
At the same time, those fans of Abe Lincoln in Lincoln City, Oregon, concur with Dreyfuss per his view that the country should “restore separate, special celebrations for George and Abraham.”
“On Lincoln’s Birthday, we can celebrate liberty, the preservation of the Union and the end of slavery, which made the world sit up and take note that here was a country unlike any other. On Wasington’s Birthday, we can honor a man who set the bar for civilized and noble behavior," said Dreyfuss.