Monday, February 23, 2015

Acknowledging the Father of our Country

“Guard against the postures of pretended patriotism.”
I'd like to take a moment and veer away from the politics and pop culture of the day to acknowledge a man who, once upon a time, had a holiday commemorating his birth.  It wasn't that long ago when, arguably, the greatest and most important American there ever was rightly had a day set aside in his honor. In an era where honoring George Washington (and Lincoln, too) has been replaced with an all encompassing scotch-tape and spit weekend-extender holiday that tips the hat to ALL presidents who ever served (including the venerable Franklin Pierce) - a holiday best known for mattress sales, car bargains and corny jingles built around "Hail To The Chief" - a holiday that means exponentially LESS than even EARTH DAY, I'd like to acknowledge yesterday's 283rd birthday of George Washington with some of my favorite quotes. 
Nothing is a greater stranger to my breast, or a sin that my soul more abhors, than that black and detestable one, ingratitude. – Letter to Governor Dinwiddie, 29 May, 1754
Remember that it is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer, and that there is more expected from him, than the title.    -Address to the Officers of the Virginia Regiment, 8 January, 1756
The ways of Providence being inscrutable, and the justice of it not to be scanned by the shallow eye of humanity, nor to be counteracted by the utmost efforts of human power or wisdom, resignation, and as far as the strength of our reason and religion can carry us, a cheerful acquiescence to the Divine Will, is what we are to aim.   - Letter to Colonel Bassett, 25 April, 1773
Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.- Letter to Benedict Arnold, 14 September 1775
Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a Freeman, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.- General Orders, Headquarters, New York, 2 July 1776
The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.- General Order, 9 July 1776 George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.- Address to the Continental Army before the Battle of Long Island, 27 August 1776
My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than can be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty, and to your country, which you probably can never do under any other circumstances.- Encouraging his men to renlist in the army, 31 December 1776
While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.- General Orders, 2 May 1778
Example, whether it be good or bad, has a powerful influence.- Letter to Lord Stirling, 5 March 1780
You will, by the dignity of your Conduct, afford occasion for Posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to Mankind, had this day been wanting, the World had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.- Response to the first Newburgh Address, 15 March 1783
If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.-Address to officers of the Army, 15 March 1783
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.-First Annual Address, to both Houses of Congress, 8 January 1790
A people… who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything. - Letter to Benjamin Harrison, 10 October 1784
All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity.-Letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, 9 January1790
It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.
- Letter to his niece, Harriet Washington, 30 October 1791
We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth & reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age & in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining & holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.- Letter To the members of the New Church of Baltimore, 22 January 1793
When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly.- Letter to Edmund Pendleton, 22 January 1795
Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?” –Farewell address, 26 September 1796
“…….the name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism…” Farewell address, 26 September 1796

-Andrew Roman

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, well, if he was so great, how come he couldn't keeps his comments under 140 characters??

    Excellent piece, Andrew. No one had to guess Washington's patriotism, or if he could name his enemies or if he had the best interest of his countrymen at heart. It's good to review these things, admire these kind of men.


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