Independence Day should be a Monday holiday

By | Tuesday, July 04, 2023 Leave a Comment
The 4th of July occurred (inconveniently) on a Tuesday this year (2023). This got me thinking about US holidays which are fixed to a certain date in the year, vs. those that are (currently) always celebrated on a Monday.

We have New Years Day, which is always January 1; "The 4th of July", always celebrated on July 4; Christmas is December 25th; and most recently Juneteenth, which is June 19. [Note that for the Federal Government, and many businesses, if one of these dates falls on a weekend it is then "observed" on either the preceding Friday or the following Monday.]

Then we have the so called "Monday holidays", which occur on different dates each year, corresponding to a Monday (though some of them used to be holidays fixed to a date): Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.

Lastly, we have the oddity of Thanksgiving, which is observed on the 4th Thursday in November - so the date floats, but it is always a Thursday.

I can't help thinking that if we just called this holiday by its proper name, "Independence Day", it could be turned into a Monday holiday. It is only fixed to a specific date because it is commonly referred to as "The 4th of July".

Independence Day is particularly ripe for becoming a floating holiday because it isn't even clear that July 4, 1776, is the most significant date in relation to the Independence of the United States from Great Britain. After all, the declaration was ratified by Congress on July 2, 1776, and the "official" copy on display at the National Archives was signed (primarily) on August 2. Meanwhile, the war with Britain began in April 1775, more than a year before the declaration was ratified let alone signed. The war wasn't officially over until the signing of the Treaty of Paris, September 3, 1783. Arguably, independence wasn't assured until that happened.

Moreover, "The 4th of July" tells us nothing about what we are celebrating. The holiday is intended to commemorate the anniversary of the colonies making up the "United States" declaring independence from Great Britain. Calling the holiday by its true name makes it much more meaningful than simply referring to the date in July on which we have chosen to commemorate it. Celebrating July 4, by that name, makes no more sense than celebrating any other date on the calendar.

So, we really ought to refer to this holiday as "Independence Day" and celebrate it on the first Monday in July, regardless of the calendar date on which that Monday happens to fall.

Just my 2 cents.
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