Josh, did Yousef's suggestion get things working as you wanted? He is correct by the way, you need to encapsulate the expression with the date function he mentioned to see the actual date in the variable, otherwise it is likely going to be shown as you are seeing it. If Yousef's comment worked, please be sure to use the Accept as Solution button on his post to give him credit for the help and let other Community Members know it worked too. If you are still working on things, leave an update.
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Would this need to be set? The Load statement? Does this need to be set elsewhere for the variable. For comparison I have a similarly setup up calendar button to variable that does not seem to be having this issue (This is a legacy QVW I am overhauling so I did not create it originally nor is that person available).