First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his fellow countrymen

We will soon observe the 291st birthday one of the founders of this great nation - George Washington born on February 22, 1732.  The intent of “Presidents Day” is to honor the legacy of all Presidents,  but  I believe this marginalizes his unparalleled  accomplishments.  Washington single handedly  lead the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolutionary War,  presided over the Constitutional Convention,  and was our very first president.

On 4th  December 1783 – Nine days after the last British soldiers left America George Washington invited the officers of the Continental Army to join him in the Long Room of Fraunces Tavern so he could say farewell. The best-known account of this emotional leave-taking comes from the Memoirs of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge written in 1830.

Memoir of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge (

As Tallmadge recalled,  The time now drew near when General Washington intended to leave for his beloved retreat at Mt. Vernon. On Tuesday the 4th of December it was made known to the officers then in New York that General Washington intended to commence his journey and the officers gathered at  Fraunces Tavern where General Washington met them to bid farewell.

Washington turned to his officers said, ‘With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.”
After the officers had taken a glass of wine General Washington said, “I cannot come to each of you but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.”

General Knox being nearest to him turned to the Commander-in-chief who, in tears, was incapable of speaking but grasped his hand when they embraced each other in silence. In the same affectionate manner, every officer in the room marched up and parted with his general in chief.

The officers then escorted Washington from the tavern to the Whitehall wharf, where he boarded a barge that took him to Annapolis, where the Continental Congress was meeting, and he resigned his commission. General Washington returned to Mount Vernon, believing that December 1783 marked the end of his public life. Little did he realize that he would return to New York six years later to be sworn in as our  nation’s first president.

First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen · George Washington's Mount Vernon

Yes as Henry “Light Horse Harry Lee” stated at his funeral oration. George Washington was truly “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his fellow countrymen.” As we approach our nation’s 250th birthday (our semi quincentennial ) on July 4th 2026 let us never forget him.  Without Washington’s  vison, commitment, and service we would not be a nation. In view of today’s politically motivated “leaders”  we could sure use a George Washington now !

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