George Washington’s birthday is February 22, 1732 and he died December 14, 1799. This month, we officially celebrate his life on Monday, February 21. It’s a holiday frequently and unfortunately called “President’s Day” by advertisers and media, yet its official designation is “Washington’s Birthday,” and for very good reason.
George Washington was a matchless man who possessed a collection of personal virtues and leadership traits rarely seen throughout history. Divinely placed as a key figure in the birth of our nation, Washington’s person, life story, and role in our nation’s founding are becoming inconsequential in our culture. Although it’s impossible to encapsulate his significance in one article, here is just a small sampling of noteworthy facts about our first President that might inspire a revived celebration of this unique hero.
The Father of our Country
For eight and a half years (1775 – 83), Washington fearlessly commanded the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War to victory over the mighty British. In 1787, he presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to bring us our Constitution, and was the first to sign his name on this historical document for freedom. He was our nation’s first President beginning in 1789, serving two terms and setting the precedent for all future presidents who have been wise enough to emulate him. Get to know the man who was Washington, and one soon learns why he is called the Father of our Country, and why there was none whose feet could fill his boots.
Sacrificial Visionary for Unborn Millions
Washington’s life is an example of a man who cared more for the cause of freedom and for other people than he cared for himself. He yearned to spend his days at his home, Mount Vernon, but each time duty called, he faithfully answered for the sake of freedom. Of the eight years he served as President, he spent only fifteen months at Mount Vernon.
If not for him, the case can easily be made that the United States of America we know today might never have been birthed. More than once he referenced “unborn millions” as he spoke and wrote about his mission. This vision for countless future Americans seemed to fuel his determination to press on for freedom against enormous odds. On July 2, 1776, General Washington said this:
“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 of this army.”[i]
Courage Under Fire
If anyone in history can claim the virtue of courage under fire, it is Washington. As General, he bravely and frequently put himself in the thick of the battle, joining his front line troops where the danger was highest. He courageously faced death and battled the largest and best equipped army of his day.
While he was young and only a General’s aide, he miraculously survived a violent, bloody ambush at Monongahela (Pennsylvania) during the French and Indian War. In the midst of bullets from all sides, he rode atop his horse, back and forth, delivering orders to troops. From the multiple bullet sprays directed at him, the only bullet that touched him whizzed through his outer coat, just missing his body. He attributed this miracle to “the all-powerful dispensations of Providence.”
Even the Indians who targeted him were stunned. Years later, the same Indian chief who ambushed Washington at Monongahela encountered him and told Washington, “Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you.”[ii]
In war, he was outnumbered, outgunned, and usually outmaneuvered, yet he knew the cause for freedom was worth every bit of faith, sacrifice and effort. Against such odds, his primary strategy was survival. He lost all but 3 out of 9 battles during the Revolutionary War. Six out of nine losses might defeat another man’s will, yet Washington determined himself and outlasted the powerful British army to ultimately claim victory for freedom and independence.
So Much More
As we celebrate his birthday, there is so much more to be written about the Father of our Country. This article has but touched the surface of what made Washington a man worth remembering each year. I challenge my readers to learn more about Washington this month. Check my blog here for a list of recommended reading, or look him up at the local library.
Those “unborn millions” include this writer, and I can’t be more thankful for Washington’s vision, concern, and sacrifice for my personal freedoms.
Michelle Morin is Mom4Freedom, a conservative blogger, speaker, and patriot for freedom and America’s founding principles. Join her for more current events commentary, opinion, and freedom updates here.
[i] From the book America’s God and Country, William J. Federer, page 639
[ii] Ibid, page 637