Friday, February 22, 2013

President George Washington - Life Makes The Man

February 22

George Washington's Birthday  

A few days ago I posted about how through the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 moved the United States federal observation of President Washington's birthday to the third Monday in February. We know this holiday by a different name, President's Day. If the act hadn't passed Americans would have continued to celebrate the birth of our first president every February 22 since this is the date he would have been born on before the Gregorian Calendar change occurred.

George Washington by: Cliff
George Washington was a great military hero and an excellent choice as our young nation's first leader. Without his leadership the American Revolution would have failed. We know the stories. We've named streets, towns, school and libraries after him. We've even built a monument in Washington D.C., constructed statues, written about him, created works of art in his imagine and included him in our movies and on our television shows. But just like other heroes who have achieved demi-god status, we have lifted him so high that sometimes we forget that George Washington was a just a man. What shaped this man to become a legend? Perhaps it all started in his childhood home.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 to Augustine and May Ball Washington on Pope Creek's Estate in Westmoreland, Virginia. His mother had been orphaned when she was twelve years old. George was the third generation on his father side to have been born in the colonies. He had two half brothers; Augustine and Lawerence, three brothers; Samuel, John Augustine, and Charles, and one sister; Mrs. Betty Lewis. George's father died when he was eleven years old leaving his care in the hands of his older half-brothers. When Lawerence died in 1752 from Smallpox and Tuberculosis, their father's estate fell into the hands of the twenty year old George Washington. You can learn more about George Washington and his childhood in my book Reflections: Poems and Essays  which will be re-released in March.

George inherited a sizable estate from his father that became his focus. Yet he still had a life outside the demands of his family's plantation. That same year, George enlisted in the military. He served in the British Army from 1752 to 1758. You can learn more about his military career at

He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1759 where he often spoke out against British policies. George Washington never ceased to speak out against the British. In 1766, he returned to his military career as the aide-de-camp to General Braddox during the French and Indian War. General Braddox's lead his unit of men in an effort to capture the French Fort Duquesne (Pittsburg). Also in this unit was a young wagon driver named Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone and George Washington may have interacted with one another during the campaign. It wouldn't have been the first time, either. When George Washington was 16yrs old he had met Daniel Boone while surveying the wilderness. The two men were only a few years apart in age. Although they were contemporaries they did not interact with each other much because they came from two vastly different worlds.

*interesting note* Daniel Boone is closely associated with President Abraham Lincoln. Two families were pioneers in Kentucky together. Daniel Boone's first cousin, Anne Boone, married the great-granduncle of President Abraham Lincoln. Daniel's other first cousin, George Boone, married Sarah Lincoln. The couple were President Abraham Lincoln's great, great aunt and uncle.

You can read more about George Washington's military career at

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