9.11.14: The 'History Guys' On Federal Holidays & Why 9/11 Isn't One

Sep 11, 2014

Credit Gene Han via flickr Creative Commons

From President’s Day to Veteran’s Day, federal holidays are often an excuse for a day off and mattress sales. On today’s show: the history guys tell us how federal holidays get established, and why more recent events--like September 11th --won’t likely be among them.

Upon its opening, the gift shop at the September 11th Memorial Museum sparked controversy for such keepsakes from an FDNY rescue dog vest to “survivor tree” earrings. But the impulse to commemorate is as old as the country itself. We’ll take a historical tour of tone-deaf trinkets.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


Why Isn't 9/11 a Federal Holiday?

  • Brian Balogh and Peter Onuf  are two of the three 'History Guys' from the popular podcast Backstory. They join Virginia to talk about the history behind federal holidays and why more recent events haven't been commemorated with an official day off.

Remembering Gettysburg

Tone Deaf Gift Shops

  • Brady Carlson, host of All Things Considered on NHPR, and our resident pop culture guru, joined us to discuss the history of tacky gift shops, and our impulse to memorialize in May of this year. He is currently traveling around the country while writing his book Dead Presidents: An American Adventure.

Being There

  • Now that digital adventures can take us virtually anywhere, why are so many driven to pay their respects on the actual site of the attacks? WNYC’s Sara Fishko examined the impact of traveling beyond your desktop to stand on the spot where something happened back in 2011, a mere week before the memorial opened.
  • You can listen to her story at PRX.org.