THE BILL that we sign today will help Americans to enjoy more fully the country that is their magnificent heritage. It will also aid the work of Government and bring new efficiency to our economy.
This bill provides that three of our national holidays will be celebrated on Monday:
--Washington's Birthday on the third Monday in February,
--Memorial Day on the last Monday in May,
--Veterans Day on the fourth Monday in October. The bill will take effect on January 1, 1971. State legislatures will thus have time to act for observances in local government offices and in private employment.
This will mean a great deal to our families and our children. It will enable families who live some distance apart to spend more time together. Americans will be able to travel farther and see more of this beautiful land of ours. They will be able to participate in a wider range of recreational and cultural activities.
The bill also establishes Columbus Day as a Federal holiday--to be celebrated on the second Monday in October. Thirty-four of our States have already established a day honoring Christopher Columbus. It is fitting now that we give national expression to our faith in the spirit of discovery embodied by this great adventurer. This new holiday will henceforth honor one of our finest and most cherished national characteristics--our ability to live and work together, men and women of all national origins, as one united and progressive nation.
The provisions of this bill insure a minimum of five regularly recurring 3-day weekends each year for Federal employees. The costs will be offset to an important degree by avoiding disruptions of Government business through Monday observance of holidays.
The private employer will enjoy similar gains in efficiency. The Monday holiday will stimulate greater industrial and commercial production, sparing business and labor the penalty of midweek shutdowns.