Common Sense: President’s Day

I wonder if you feel like me that the creation of President’s Day as a Monday holiday works against the proper recognition of Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays. At one time, in many places, Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, was a holiday as well as Washington’s actual birthday, February 22.  Now, of course, the day to honor all presidents, appropriately named Presidents’ Day, is the third Monday of February every year.

I like the idea that we recognized the significance of all the men who have served in the office of president, but still feel that Lincoln and Washington should receive their own distinct recognition.

Of course, you cannot go out and haphazardly declare national holidays. They are at a minimum a day off for government employees and too many can become a problem. But in lieu of distinct federal holidays for Lincoln and Washington, I think a greater effort should be made to honor them on their actual birthdays beyond a few extra TV dramas and/or possibly a few minutes devoted in our schools.

As an aside, I am looking at the daily white page calendar I own and see that Presidents’ Day is notated but Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays are not. United Nations Day and Administrative Assistants Day are marked.

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I have never been a big circus fan, but I must say I feel bad about Ringling Brothers Circus making its last round of shows before permanently closing. A lot of reasons have been given, with a number pointing at a decision to end many of the animal acts including the elephant shows. I am sure this is at least partially true.

There certainly are others including a general change in what we find entertaining. Clowns, for one thing, are something many people, particularly kids, do not find funny. Plus the competition for the attention of children and young adults has increased many fold in the past 20 years.

For my part, I would still like to see the availability of a high wire act that is not a Cirque du Soleil presentation costing $100 a ticket and really designed for adults.

Many people who traveled on one of those two red or blue mile-long trains will be out of work looking for another limited job in the entertainment field. And many smaller cities and towns which are accessible to a rail line will no longer have this level of professional entertainment coming to town each year.

The big tent and three rings will eventually disappear from our vocabulary. Make no bones about it, losing the circus is a loss and a very real sign that times have changed.

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One change for the better is a decision by the NYC Department of Education to encourage the teaching of cursive once again in our city schools. Cursive is script handwriting. Many probably did not know it had been stopped a few years back.

Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis pressed the issue in Albany with the schools chancellor. She agreed that it made sense to bring it back as an optional but encouraged lesson. Many teachers agreed and now it has returned to most schools.

The assemblymember deserves a congratulations for her successful effort and the chancellor a thank-you for making the change back.

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