George Washington; 'A Good and a Great Man'

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter A. Lillback, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In these politically correct times, George Washington isn't the hero he once was.

Children don't read about him in school as much as their parents did. They're much more likely to learn about African-American, Native American or female heroes.

New Jersey, in fact, issued new history standards a few years ago that omitted any mention of Washington.

Even when children do learn about him, it's in an article in a boring textbook or a static image in a painting. There are no radio, TV or video clips that would make him come alive.

Washington's stature has diminished so much that a recent Washington College Poll found that Americans had a higher respect for Bill Clinton's job performance as president than they did for George Washington's.

As we once again celebrate our nation's birthday, it's time to rediscover Washington, the role model.

From his earliest childhood, through his youth, military career, political career and retirement, Washington was a model of Christian virtues strength and humility, servanthood and leadership, principles and forgiveness.

A man of character.

"First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life," Maj. Gen. Henry Lee said at Washington's funeral. "Pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was edifying to all around him, as were the effects of that example lasting." How many recent statesmen have been widely described with words like these? The geniuses of Washington's age, people like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, looked to him for leadership. Jefferson said that Washington's mind wasn't of the very first order, but "his integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known .. He was a good, and a great, man." As Washington's army suffered defeat after humiliating defeat on the road to Yorktown, he refused to give up and inspired others to do the same. When all seemed lost in the cold and deprivation of Valley Forge, his example galvanized his beleaguered army. …