Saturday, January 8, 2011

First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

Tonight my grandson Michael and I finished Douglas Southall Freeman's seven volume set biography of George Washington. In 2008 when Diane asked me what I would like for Christmas, I suggested this long out of circulation set (first published in 1957). Well, she found it on the internet and it is one of my all-time favorite gifts. I had also received, some time that year, a bookmark with a picture of Michael on it. So, for 2 years as I read thru this set, I had Michael with me all the while. TeriLe, Michael, and Daniel lived with us for a few years and I miss them all the time. But with this bookmark, it was like Michael was sitting with me every time I read of George Washington.
Washington was eulogized by many. Perhaps the most famous words (forming the title of this blog) were by Henry Lee, his long-time friend and fellow Virginian. But I think my favorite were by Thomas Jefferson: "His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives or interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good and a great man".
And so, somehow thru osmosis or something, this is what I wish for Michael. He's a good kid. I hope he learns well how to be a good man. I know TeriLe is teaching him how to work on the "farm" and that will help.
Michael, I hope you study hard in school, listen in Church, and mind your Mom. These are all things that George Washington did. I can't wait to see you again so I can tell you some of the stories I remember of George Washington. And, yes, I wish this for all my grand kids, but Michael's picture is sitting here looking at me! I hope they all learn to have integrity that is most pure.

Now go look up consanguinity....