How pleasant to see that the Mount Vernon Ladies Association can actually accomplish worthwhile projects, as opposed to selling my home out as a publicity stunt to trashy reality television shows. In compliance with the ADA, Mount Vernon will be made more accessible. It's about time such a thing happened, too. Everyone, no matter if they are disabled or not, should be able to have a fully accessible and enjoyable visit to the estate. I should make a visit of my own to the place soon, it's been quite some time since I was there last. The gardens will be beautiful at this time of year.
On a completely unrelated note, Mark. Dear boy. The men of our family were never meant to have facial hair. It is not a very becoming look on any of us, yourself included.
Over two hundred years later, I am still amazed at all that we were able to accomplish when we had little more than a desire to be independent and the stubbornness to try it. It does a man good to see, year after year, his beautiful and thriving country take a moment to celebrate its freedom.
I wish you all a happy Independence Day, and hope you take the time to celebrate.
Why, when flipping channels on my television, have I come across a reality show wherein aspiring chefs are competing against one another during a barbecue on the lawn of Mt Vernon? Since when is it acceptable to use historical landmarks, let alone private presidential homes, as backdrops for ridiculous cooking shows? I will have to speak with the Regent of the MVLA about this nonsense. I won't have my home degraded in this manner; that horrid National Treasure movie was bad enough.
In much pleasanter news, it is our Independence Day this weekend. Anticipation of the celebrations and patriotism has kept me in a good mood all week. Columbia, my darling, might I impose on your hospitality at the compound as early as Friday?
They say it's impossible to know exactly how many casualties there were during the Revolution. The figure is estimated to be around 25,000 deaths, with almost that same amount of survivors who were wounded. Some of those men were as close to me as brothers, and some were like strangers. But they were all brave, loyal Americans who laid down their lives for the freedom and independence they believed in. And while not a day goes by where I don't think of them, it's good to see their descendants and an entirely new generation of Americans pay tribute to them and all the others who nobly sacrificed their lives in service to their country -- a country made possible by those first 25,000 Patriots and their comrades who lived.
Five sentences using the Gamma prompt table from the 1sentence challenge as inspiration, though I used more than one prompt per sentence a few times. I'll be finishing the rest of the table over the next week or two.
You: Name: Kat Contact: TheUpperEchelon (AIM) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Character: Deity Name: George Washington Pantheon: American Folklore/"First Family" political gods Current Alias: George Ball Apparent Age: 30-something Occupation: If applicable.
Personality:Over the centuries, George Washington has been built up to nearly mythological standards, to the point that sometimes he himself forgets about the man he was, and is. The fact of the matter is that George is a simple man. The son of a planter, he was always most content when he could live a peaceful, quiet life on his estates and manage his farmland. He was educated at home and never went to college, and in his early life he often felt as though he weren't as intelligent as some of his contemporaries. He's since gotten over this, and indeed is rather proud of it. He, a Virginian who rarely left his home territory and never had any formal schooling, was the only U.S. President in history to be unanimously elected to not just one, but two terms of office. He's quite proud of a lot of his early life, when people can bother to tell the facts right. The tale about the cherry tree and "I cannot tell a lie"? Don't bring that up in his hearing or he might throw something.
So far as he is proud of his life, he's also still bewildered by the fact that it means so much to people. They're still debating the details of his life before the war and presidency, and the logic behind his decisions during the war and presidency, and even what he really looked like. The sheer amount of belief in him and his enduring legend, the stuff that keeps his immortal self alive today, has always fascinated George. He never particularly wanted to be remembered as such an important figure, and was always quick to resign his commissions and offices once he had finished his duties. Celebrity, even in the 18th century, never suited him. Anonymity, on the other hand, suits him perfectly. There's nothing he loves better than to go out among the citizens of the United States and really get to know them, the people he fought so hard to provide a free and independent country for.
While he was never capable of fathering any children during his mortal life (the case of the slave child West Ford notwithstanding, as he will discount that as oral history that can't be proven), George has long since accepted that he does have a family. When Lady Columbia approached him in 1776 and called him "father," it established a long-running relationship between the two that is at times that of a parent and child, and at times that of lovers. Columbia is the product of the Revolution, the very embodiment of his new nation, and as "Father of the Nation" that clearly makes him her father... but she is the embodiment of his nation, and he's always been a man more than a little in love with his country. When he can trouble himself to pay attention to modern politics and the family behind them, George quite enjoys playing patriarch of the First Family.
History: The man who would become the "Father of the Nation" was born on February 22nd, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. The third of his father's eight children, George was educated at home by his father and older brother. At seventeen, he was made surveyor for Culpepper County -- a position probably organized through his brother's father-in-law, a duke. In 1752 he was made an adjutant general of Virginia, giving him the rank of major in the state militia. One year later, he became a Master Mason in the Freemasons, a society many of the future Founding Fathers belonged to as well. During the French and Indian War, young Major Washington distinguished himself in battle and was elevated to the rank of colonel, as well as commander of all Virginia forces.
He resigned his post in 1758 to focus on politics and planting. In 1759 he married a wealthy widow several years his senior, Martha Dandrige Custis. Due to a bout of smallpox in his youth, George was incapable of fathering children. He and Martha raised her two children from her first marriage, and later two of her grandchildren, at their expansive Mount Vernon estate (which by 1775 boasted some 6,500 acres and over 100 slaves). As a wealthy planter and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, he was slow to join his contemporaries in their dissatisfied talk after the Stamp Act. However, after the Intolerable Acts he was persuaded to attend the First Continental Congress as a delegate from Virginia. In 1775, after the initial fighting between British and American forces broke out, he showed up to the Second Continental Congress in full military dress, ready to fight. John Adams promptly nominated him to be Major General and Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
General George Washington assumed command of the Continental Army of the United States of America on July 3, 1775. At that time, the army was engaged in trying to force the British out of Boston by means of a siege. Under George's direction, they were able to successfully take Boston by March of 1776. He moved his army to New York City, but was subsequently defeated at the Battle of Long Island. The retreat from New York City by his army, a nighttime voyage across the East River without losing a single man or any supplies, is sometimes seen as Washington's greatest military achievement. A series of defeats left him scrambling, but on December 25, 1776 the general decided to stage a counterattack. He led his forces across the Delaware River and captured almost 1,000 Hessian soldiers, and the "Crossing of the Delaware" remains to this day one of his most memorable feats during the Revolution. In the winter of 1777 Washington and his men camped at Valley Forge, where 2,500 of 10,000 soldiers died of exposure and disease, but the remainder were well-trained by one Baron von Steuben. After this time, George mostly stepped back from being in the thick of battle and spent the last few years of the war acting in more of a diplomatic and organizational capacity.
In 1783 after the war was won and the United States had gained their independence, George Washington disbanded the army and resigned his commission in December of 1783. He returned to Mount Vernon in the hopes of regaining a quiet life as a gentleman planter, but such was not meant to be. In 1789 (and again in 1792) he was elected to the Presidency of the United States by unanimous vote in the Electoral College, the only President to have done so. With John Adams as his Vice-President, he took the oath of office at Federal Hall in New York city on April 30, 1789. He was 57 years old at the time. Careful that his office not emulate the royal courts of Europe and instead be more republican in nature, he rejected most of the titles proposed for him and insisted upon being called nothing more than "Mr. President." During his presidency, he was responsible for a great many things, including: the establishment of the Executive Branch and the federal judiciary; organizing the first Cabinet; choosing the location of the permanent capital in what would become the District of Columbia; establishing the First Bank of the United States and the United States Mint; and the creation of several treaties for peaceful trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Spain and Great Britain.
When Washington retired from the office in 1797 (after refusing a third term), he returned once again to Mount Vernon with Martha. Two years later, on December 12, he went out on horseback to inspect his farm. The weather grew bad, and he had ridden through both hail and rain by the time he returned to the house. The next day he had a fever and a throat infection, which soon developed into laryngitis and pneumonia. On December 14th, 1799, George Washington died in his bed in Mount Vernon. According to his personal secretary Tobias Lear, his last words were "'Tis well." The entire country mourned for him; even abroad, people mourned the loss of a great man -- Napoleon Bonaparte ordered ten days of mourning throughout France. Washington was interred in a tomb at Mount Vernon, and despite several attempts by the government to re-inter his remains in the Capitol or elsewhere in Washington, D.C. his body has remained at his estate ever since.
George Washington, however, has not been in that tomb for a very long time. Almost as soon as he was interred, he became a powerful figure in American myth. Several tales were told of him that grew in popularity, from the chopping down of his father's cherry tree to the fact that he wore wooden teeth. (The former is patently false, but the latter bears a grain of truth. His first adult tooth was lost at the age of 22, and when he became President he had only one of his real teeth left. His dentures were fashioned of ivory and actual human teeth, with gold springs. The frequent pain in his mouth thanks to his dental problems led him to take laudanum.) In the first decade of the 1800s he found himself miraculously restored to life, but it was a life such as he had never known. He could be injured, but heal almost instantly. He could fall ill and recover almost as quickly. The only pains he suffered were those that had plagued him during his "first life," for which he continued to dose himself with laudanum. Stunned and a little bit overwhelmed by his rebirth, George took the opportunity to travel his country and see it from an average citizen's perspective, where he relished the opportunity to mingle with the people without being recognized. He has gone everywhere and done everything, over the two hundred-odd years since he fought to free his country from British colonial rule, and yet he's never stopped being amazed at how popular his story and his name remain with the American people even today. He's visited Mount Rushmore, held countless dollar bills and quarter-dollar coins, and even attended one of the universities named for him, but George Washington has always and will always be flattered and humbled by the fact that the country he so loves appears to love him back.