Find of the Month

July 2016 - Moon-Day


Some Seattleites, along with others throughout the US, enjoyed an extra holiday in July 1969 thanks to the space program. President Nixon, while not having legal authority to declare a national holiday, did issue a proclamation declaring a "National Day of Participation" in honor of the moon landing. The proclamation read, in part:

Apollo 11 is on its way to the moon. It carries three brave astronauts; it also carries the hopes and prayers of hundreds of millions of people here on earth, for whom the first footfall on the moon will be a moment of transcendent drama... That moment when man first sets foot on a body other than earth will stand through the centuries as one supreme in human experience and profound in its meaning for generations to come...

As the astronauts go where man has never gone, as they attempt what man has never tried, we on earth will want, as one people, to be with them in spirit to share the glory and the wonder and to support them with prayers that all will go well. In order that as many as possible can have the opportunity to share as fully as possible in this surpassing occasion, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Monday, July 21, 1969, to be a National Day of Participation...

Federal offices were closed, and the President urged state and local officials to observe the day in their own jurisdictions. Washington Governor Dan Evans, King County Executive John Spellman, and Seattle Mayor Floyd Miller all declared the holiday for their own jurisdictions. Government offices and schools were closed, although most businesses remained open.

The Seattle Times noted that "one group of city employees who will not have Monday off are Meter Maids. A spokesman said that parking meters will be checked as usual Monday." Others who did not get the day off included workers at the M. Maggio Company, whose president was quoted by the New York Times as saying, "Moon or no moon, we have to go on making cheese. After all, we can't turn the cows off."