Artist: Ira Madris
Writer: Gayle Gleckler
JOURNEY TO LIBERTY
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Virginia not with a silver spoon in his mouth, but a silver quarter in his future. He was homeschooled in the classics, but got his real education on his family’s property with backwoodsmen and plantation foremen.
PRE REVOLUTION EXPERIENCE
At only 23, he was appointed Major of the Virginia Militia and soon had the honorary rank of Colonel, joining British General Edward Braddock's army. He always rode with his men and during an attack on the French, he narrowly escaped with four bullet holes in his cloak and two horses shot out from under him.
On June 15,1775 he was appointed Major General and Commander-in-Chief and was not qualified to wage war on the world's most powerful nation, having no experience in commanding a large infantry or cavalry. On Christmas night 1776 Washington crossed the Delaware River and attacked unsuspecting Hessian mercenaries at Trenton, forcing them to surrender. A few days later his army attacked the British again in Princeton dealing them a humiliating loss. His strong leadership and fortitude held the American military together to secure victory in Yorktown, VA and independence for his nation in 1783.
The political nature of war was was as important as the military one. The treasury was depleted. Most soldiers hadn’t been paid in years. Washington avoided mutiny, by convincing Congress to grant a five year bonus to soldiers. As a veteran, he took care of well deserving vets.
The young Republic was struggling under the Confederation with state-centered power. The states, not united, fought bitterly. In 1786 Congress held the national convention in Philadelphia to amend the articles of the Confederation. Washington was unanimously chosen as President. Acutely aware that his presidency set a precedent for all to follow, he held up the responsibilities of office with power and integrity.
The first quarter was produced in 1796, with Lady Liberty on it. The current quarter with his profile, created in 1932, celebrated the 200th anniversary of his birth. The silver dollar and the fifty cents piece have been retired; too big and heavy. Pennies, nickels and dimes rattle annoyingly around in your pocket, but his quarter has survived. As you hold Washington's quarter in your hand:
HOLD OUR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY IN YOUR HEART FOREVER.