A thumbnail bio of George Washington

An evening pause: This day, February 22nd and the birthday of George Washington, was once celebrated yearly by Americans to honor the leader of the American army in the Revolutionary War, the leader in the effort to write the Constitution, and the country’s first president who had the humbleness to step down after two terms in office.

Congress in 1971 turned that celebration into the empty “Presidents Day” holiday, that means nothing and devalues the profound importance of Washington, especially when compared to the generally mediocre individuals — with the except possibly of Lincoln alone — who followed him in that office.

I choose to celebrate Washington instead, on this the actual anniversary of this birth. The video below is a short but succinct and accurate outline of his life. It only touches the surface of the man’s unfathomable importance to American history, but it is start.

George Washington’s Farewell Address

An evening pause: In honor of George Washington’s birthday, here is his farewell speech, in which he outlined his advice for the citizens of this country to sustain a free America into a long and prosperous future.

The wisdom of these words is astonishing. More so is their predictive quality. Washington knew, possibly better than anyone, the greatest risks that threatened liberty. Woe to us all if we choose to ignore his warnings.

A Jewish congregation’s letter to George Washington welcoming him to Rhode Island in 1790.

On Washington’s birthday: A Jewish congregation’s letter to George Washington welcoming him to Rhode Island in 1790.

Washington had come to Rhode Island in celebration of that state’s ratification of the Constitution. This paragraph, written by these immigrant Jews, speaks directly to today’s far less tolerant government and society that now believes it has the right to squelch religious freedom:

Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People ~~ a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance ~~ but generously affording to all Liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: ~~ deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language equal parts of the great governmental Machine.