Monday, Feb 26, 2007
The park completed a week-long 275th celebration of the birth of George Washington on his birthday, February 22nd, which has now become Presidentâs Day.
Commemorative events were kicked off with a Saturday lecture presented by Dr. Char Miller of George Mason University speaking on âWashington, Prince of the Potomac.â In it, Dr. Miller compared George Washington with Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) an Italian statesman and political philosopher who wrote The Prince in 1513. The Prince has become the cornerstone of modern political philosophy.
The birthday celebration continued on Sunday, February 18th, with the NPS unveiling three quilts, usually housed in the museum collections, which have never been exhibited before. The quilts and other museum objects are included in a new book titled Quilts of Virginia, 1607-1899, the Birth of America through the Eye of a Needle. The authors and editors were present for a book signing. The George Washington Birthplace Association, the Uptown Quilt Guild and the NPS presented information about the park, 17th and 18th century Washington family archaeology collections and other park collections, and described the making of a modern baby quilt, the motifs of which were taken from one of the 18thh century quilts being exhibited. Over 120 quilt enthusiasts and artisans were present for the unveiling and presentation.
The Chantilly Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the James Monroe Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, assisted by Troop 255 of the Boy Scouts of America from Oak Grove, Virginia, were also part of the dayâs activities and conducted a wreath laying ceremony at the base of the parkâs 1892 commemorative obelisk.
On Monday, February 19th, uniformed members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary conducted a flag raising ceremony in honor of George Washington. Julia Burke, a Chinese national who recently became a U.S. citizen on February 15th, raised the flag. Staff and VIPs presented a variety of 18th century craft demonstrations in period dress while the association served hot cider and gingerbread cookies, a tradition unbroken since the 1930âs.
Celebrations culminated on Thursday, February 22nd, with a birthday cake-cutting ceremony in honor of George Washington. Park VIPs dressed in period clothing and provided costumed interpretive demonstrations in spinning and weaving and blacksmithing. Candles were placed and lit at the four corners of the birth site house foundation, the main archaeological feature in the park.