Monday, February 18, 2008

What's wrong with 'Presidents' Day

Don't ask me why this bugs me. But it does.

I have a fundamental problem with the notion of "Presidents Day." I've never understood why Washington and Lincoln's birthdays fell by the wayside in favor of this catch all day. You can't tell me that Warren G. Harding and Grover Cleveland and Rutherford B. Hayes deserve to be honored along with George, Abe, TR and the "greats."

Knowing the federal government, I suspect that Presidents Day was designed to lump the Washington and Lincoln birthdays into one, especially in order to not have two holidays so close to one another, rather than an attempt to honor all 43 of our nation's leaders.

Which makes sense. Unlike our friends overseas, we can't be off every time the wind blows. (Well, unless you're Knox County Schools.) But, still...

Here's a more important point. Presidents Day reminds me yet again how ignorant we as a society are becoming about our past. It's downright shameful.

I couldn't believe a recent British survey. Apparently, a sizable number of college-aged English chaps actually think that Sherlock Holmes was real human being, actually out there solving cases on the foggy streets of London, while Winston Churchill was an imaginary character.

Things aren't much better across the pond. Just watch Jay Leno's "on the street" interviews some night on NBC.

All isn't lost, though. Regardless of what you hear, we've got some great high school history teachers in town. Pals Dean Harned and Tim Reeves are two of the best. They make it come alive, like all the good instructors do.

Whenever I hear the phrase "history is boring," I shudder and think to myself, "No, the social studies teacher you had in high school taught it in such a way that made is boring."

Still, I can't help but think we're partially to blame for the ever-increasing lack of historical understanding. Look at the moniker "Presidents Day" on your calendar for just one example...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should also remember professors Dr.Pinckney, Dr. Ash, Dr. Bergeron, Dr. Liulevicious, Dr. Wheeler,Dr. Chmielewski, and other history teachers who build on the work done by our fine high school teachers.

12:01 PM  

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