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U.S. stamp commemorating the quadricentennial of the landing of Christopher Columbus.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act (Pub.L. 90–363, 82 Stat. 250, enacted June 28, 1968) is an Act of Congress that amended the federal holiday provisions of the United States Code to establish the observance of certain holidays on Mondays. The Act was signed into law on June 28, 1968, and took effect on January 1, 1971.[1]

Contents

EffectsEdit

The Act moved Washington's Birthday (February 22) and Memorial Day (May 30) from fixed dates to designated Mondays, and established as a federal holiday Columbus Day—which had previously been celebrated in some states on October 12—to a designated Monday. The Act was designed to increase the number of three-day weekends for federal employees, a favorite goal of the travel industry.[2] Veterans Day was removed from this list of "always-on-Monday" holidays when it was moved back to its traditional date of November 11, by act of Congress in 1975,[3] effective 1978.

The Act did not officially establish "Presidents Day", nor did it combine the observance of Lincoln's Birthday with Washington's Birthday.[4] The perception stems from the fact that the act placed federal observance of Washington's "birthday" in the week of February 15 to 21 and, since that week always falls between Lincoln's birthday (February 12) and Washington's (February 22), but never includes either date, popular references have given rise to the title, which recognizes both Presidents.[1][2] As of 1998, a dozen U.S. states officially refer to the holiday as "Presidents' Day."[4]

The Monday holiday dates this act established are:

  • Washington's Birthday: third Monday in February (formerly February 22)
  • Memorial Day: last Monday in May (formerly May 30)
  • Labor Day: first Monday in September
  • Columbus Day: second Monday in October (formerly observed in some states on October 12)
  • Veterans Day: fourth Monday in October (formerly November 11; subsequently returned to November 11 effective 1978[5])

Though the holiday was not in existence at the time, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday (established 1983) is celebrated on the third Monday in January, which falls on January 15–21, instead of King's actual birth date, January 15, for the same reasons, as well as to provide additional distance between it and the Christmas/New Years holidays.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b An Act to provide for uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays, and for other purposes, Pub.L. 90–363, 82 Stat. 250, enacted June 28, 1968.
  2. ^ a b "Presidents Day". Urban Legends Reference Pages. Snopes.com. February 17, 2008.
  3. ^ An Act to redesignate November 11 of each year as Veterans Day and to make such day a legal public holiday., Pub.L. 94–97, 89 Stat. 479, enacted September 18, 1975.
  4. ^ a b Hoyle, John Christian (February 13, 1998). "Presidents' Day: Long-Standing Misnomer". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  5. ^ "United States Law Section 6103" – via Justia.

External linksEdit