From: T.M. Schoewe
We were really disappointed when we read that some young people quizzed about American history said they never heard of George Washington! It reminds me of the time when I was checking out at the grocery store a couple of years ago and the total rang up was $17.76. I said, 1776, that was a good year. The young cashier had no clue. Anyway, it’s February and my calendar says in little over a week on the 22nd is George’s birthday.
Why do we remember George Washington? Of course we should all know he was the first president of these United States and is known by most Americans as the “father of our country.” He was one of our founding fathers who fiercely defended the “right of conscience.” George declared: “The conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire that the laws may always be extensively accommodating to them.” And James Madison, one of the early founders of this country and author of the First Amendment said “conscience is the most sacred of all property.” We say, unless you have an evil conscience, or an erring conscience or a guilty one, your conscience must condemn Obama care, which we now know insists that all Americans must have health insurance that covers abortion. To force insurance on Americans is singly about as un-American as one can be!
Now let’s get back to George. George was not just one of the first big farmers in this country, known as “Father of our Country,” but he also was one of the bravest combat soldiers in our American history. He was fearless in combat. Time after time he put himself in harm’s way to command and rally his troops. Although there are plenty more examples of his courage and bravery, to learn about his record we will refer to just three battles: The battle of Fort Wilderness in 1755 during the French and Indian War, the battle of Princeton in 1777, and the battle of Monmouth in June of 1788. You can get more details in any encyclopedia or at wikipedia online.
Incidentally, a retired naval officer named John White is behind an effort to have the Medal of Honor awarded to George Washington, whose fearlessness in combat and reports of his courage under fire cover a career that predates the Revolutionary War. During the French and Indian war George was an aide to General Braddock who was killed in a massacre of 800 soldiers by the French and Indians. But Washington continued to ride all over the battlefield carrying out Braddock’s orders. After two hours the battle finally ended with the Indians and the French in retreat. Washington had four musket balls embedded in his coat and two horses shot from beneath him. Some of the survivors were amazed that he was still living. He would carry this same courage into the “war for independence” from Britain. In the battle of Princeton 17 January 1777 when American militia began to flee from the British, Washington rode up with reinforcements personally leading the counterattack on the British. Only 30 yards from the British lines he began to fire as did the British. When the smoke disappeared, Washington was unharmed and the British regulars fled in retreat. Washington’s willingness to lead his troops from the front inspired the American forces to hold together throughout the war. In the battle of Monmouth in June 1778 he rode up and down the British lines to halt any rout only 30 to 40 feet from the enemy. His only protection seemed to be the smoke of battle. So furious was the battle and Washington’s engagement, that before the day was out his horse died of exhaustion and had to be replaced. It was Washington’s decision to corner Cornwall at Yorktown, which finally ended the Revolutionary War.
Washington was never wounded, causing friend and foe to credit his protection to divine providence. He himself said as much in the spirit of humility and gratitude. Standing 6 foot 3 inches in his uniform with special hat he was also an easy target for sharpshooters but remained unscathed! So we join John White’s effort to have the Medal of Honor awarded to George Washington for risking his life above and beyond the call of duty.
This honor would properly recognize his bravery and bring public attention to that bravery in battle and will encourage public awareness of our history. And it would elevate him as a role model for our young people by showing that it is his kind of courage that defines a true hero, not the glint and glamour of some entertainer or celebrity. We hope all our veterans, as well as our citizenry in general, will continue to support this effort which must be approved by Congress.
Finally, on a cold December day in 1792, George Washington went on a horseback ride and for a couple of hours was caught in snow and rain. He came home with a cold and laryngitis. After two days he asked doctors and caretakers to leave him alone. In typical serenity, he who prayed for his troops at Valley Forge in the snow alone said “I die hard but am not afraid to go.” So he went in to the valley of the shadow of death knowing Who was with him and that the shadow would not harm him. He was a man of faith and believed in Divine providence. Look up the history of his crossing the Delaware.
We can all join in the words of Henry Lee whose words were in the resolution of John Marshal to Congress announcing Washington’s death as “the first in war, the first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” We salute you General, Mr. President, and master farmer, and we remember even the British fleet and armies of Napoleon paid you tribute! You are the caliber of man Americans need in the “white house,” which you would call the “people’s house.”
P.S. For you churchgoers, as a matter of faith, George Washington was an Episcopalian. But while he was forming the government when the capitol was in New York City at Wall Street, George faithfully attended the German Lutheran church. By the way, he gave tithes to the church for ten of his slaves and freed the slave that was always at his side during the war. George had long discussions with his attorney general Thomas Jefferson about the problem of slavery.