Inauguration Day Should Become a Federal Holiday

Kelsey - Herndon, Virginia
Entered on February 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Where were you when the first black president of the United States was inaugurated? Unfortunately, most Americans would respond they were in school or at work. However, I don’t think this is a sufficient answer. I believe that Inauguration Day should become a national holiday.

This past inauguration really helped me establish my belief. Luckily, I did not have class during any of the inaugural ceremonies so I was very excited to be able to witness such a historic event live. A lot of my friends however, weren’t so lucky. Seeing them have to leave the TV in the middle of the inaugural address in order to make it to class on time was a real disappointment.

Such historical events should not be missed due to mandatory attendance in schools. I understand that most elementary school students probably have no interest in watching some guy talk for a long time about stuff kids don’t understand, but I’m quite positive that teachers of those students do have an interest. Middle and high school students however, are taking civics courses which I know may have not sparked their interest in government but has at least taught them the importance of such an event.

And only the counties that surround Washington D.C. make Inauguration Day a federal holiday. This is only because they want to reduce the amount of traffic and congestion in order to make room for all of the visitors coming to watch the event. This is a ridiculous excuse. The government only wants people to stay home and watch the inaugural ceremonies so that they stay off the roads. Shouldn’t the reason be so that we become a more supportive and informed nation?

I think making Inauguration Day a national holiday would promote a sense of nationalism and patriotism as a country. As opposed to most national holidays, this would be one that all Americans could celebrate or recognize. Sure, we all like having Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday off or even Labor Day, but how many people actually observe these holidays for what they really symbolize? By celebrating our presidential inaugurations as a country, we would all be able to share in the historic value and importance of such events and they could possibly bring us closer together as one strong united front.

Keeping schools and offices open on Inauguration Day shows a lack of nationalism. I think most Americans have an interest in watching these historic events, and by promoting them as a typical day people just go about their usual daily activities without even realizing what they are ignoring. We just had our first black president inaugurated and how many thousands, if not millions, missed out on the ceremony due to required attendance at their school or job? I believe that by creating a federal holiday for all presidential inaugurations, the United States would become a more unified and patriotic nation.