historical fiction, history, "famous" married couples,
I happened into the world on George Washington’s birthday. For many years I took some pride from sharing the day with the great man. After all, back in the ‘50’s it was still celebrated on the day on which it fell, which meant that I always had my birthday off from school. Pretty sweet—even if February in upstate NY meant we were buried in snow. It was fun to have a party on a school holiday. Friends came to sledding parties and for snow-fort-buildings, but, by the time I was eight or nine, costume parties were my favorite. To have a costume party in the dead of winter was a little outre—remember, this is the ‘50’s in farm country—but everyone got into the spirit, even if it just meant digging out last autumn’s Halloween costume again. Father of Our Country. Think about what that means. It’s pretty heavy stuff to lay on anybody who used to put his pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us. Still, when you take a look at his track record here’s what you find: “Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army upon whose victory the thirteen colonies depended to secure their separate and equal station among the powers of the earth. In the summer of 1787, he presided over America’s Constitutional Convention. His presence lent decisive significance to the document drafted there, which continues in force in the twenty-first century as the oldest written constitution in the world. From 1789-1796, he held the highest office in the land as the first president of the United States of America under this constitution.” * The Claremont Institute More than that, Washington was “the man who would not be King.” Unlike every other Revolution since, our military hero didn’t become a dictator imperfectly hidden beneath a variety of pious designations as did so many others: Augustus Caesar, Hitler, Napoleon, Kim Il-sung, Stalin, Oliver Cromwell and Mao Zedong. After the Revolutionary War was over, he went home, back to his plantation. When his two terms as president were done, he went home again. George Washington was truly the “Cincinnatus” his contemporaries called him. Like that legendary Roman farmer, he left plowing his fields to assume leadership of his country in a time of war; afterward, he went home again. Like the title of historian James Flexner’s biography, George Washington was The Indispensable Man, a man who wouldn’t use his overwhelming personal popularity to grab the reins of a new nation.