The Not So Legal Holidays

Holidays are bookends to the summer.  For many, Memorial Day starts the season of barbecues and beaches, vacations and road trips, and Labor Day ends it.  The upcoming July 4th holiday punctuates the middle with fireworks and red, white and blue.

Looking for a way to define “Business Days” in a contract I was preparing for a client, I referenced Section 1-301 of the Arizona Revised Statutes to exclude from the definition all legal holidays under Arizona law. While doing so, I serendipitously found a listing of some not so legal holidays grouped together in the same chapter of Arizona Revised Statues that establishes the legal ones.

Perhaps the best known is Arbor Day, which is the last Friday in April. Like the other not so legal holidays, the statute states that “Arbor Day shall not be a legal holiday.” A.R.S. §1-304.  Since these are Arizona statutes, it’s not surprising that the fourth Saturday in July is the “national day of the cowboy,” A.R.S. §1-305, and August 14th of each year is “Navajo Code Talkers’1 Day” honoring those who knew and spoke the code the Japanese could not break. A.R.S. §1-313.

There is appropriate recognition for other real heroes of our nation:  Section 306 of the chapter declares that July 27th is Korean War Veterans Day, while the next section establishes April 9th as “prisoners of war remembrance day,” perhaps with a nod to the senior senator from our state.  Tuskegee airmen2 are recognized on the fourth Thursday in March.  A.R.S. §1-311, followed by the veterans of the Vietnam War, who are honored on March 29th.

There is also a nod to our large Hispanic population, with March 31st being designated as Dr. Cesar Estrada Chavez day.3 A.R.S. §1-308. Boy Scouts are recognized on February 8th of each year, and Girl Scouts are given equal recognition on March 12th.  A.R.S. §§1-309 and 1-310.

Rounding out the chapter most appropriately, A.R.S. §1-314 establishes September 27th of each year as “Arizona first responders’ day of gratitude and remembrance.” Subsection C of the statute provides:

“On Arizona first responders’ day of gratitude and remembrance, residents of this state are encouraged to demonstrate appreciation and pay tribute to the first responders of this state, both past and present, for their extraordinary dedication to preserving and protecting the public peace and safety.”

It’s not a bad idea to do so on July 4th as well when many of our state’s first responders will be giving up the holiday to keep us safe.

We wish you an enjoyable, safe and peaceful Fourth.

Written by Attorney David B. Goldstein,

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