Washington’s Legacy

Provided by the Metropolitan Museum

Fiona Wang and Mustang Staff

Every year the city of Alexandria in Virginia hosts a birthday celebration for America’s first president, George Washington. In addition to a parade on February 21 there will be other activities such as a Mount Vernon Birthnight Supper and Ball and a Cherry Challenge for local restaurants. The Cherry Challenge, where eateries create dishes featuring cherries, is an homage to a story invented by biographer Mason Weems about Washington as a boy of six. Weems said that Washington damaged his father’s prized cherry tree with a hatchet. “I cannot tell a lie… I did cut it with my hatchet,” confessed the young Washington. The father was so moved by Washington’s response, that he said his son’s honesty was worth more than a thousand cherry trees.

On Washington’s birthday, February 22, his home of Mount Vernon offers free admission where guests can experience performances by the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps on the Bowling Green. Each year C-SPAN conducts a survey of greatest presidents of all time as selected by historians at universities and organizations such as Stanford University, Georgetown Univ, NYU, UCLA, Hillsdale College and the Heritage Foundation. In 2021 Washington was selected as the second greatest president of all time behind Abraham Lincoln. During the American Revolution the Continental Congress appointed Washington as commander of the Continental Army in America’s battle for independence from Great Britain. After the war, Washington served as president from 1789-1797.

In the C-SPAN survey President Obama was ranked 10th greatest of all time and President Trump was ranked 41st out of 44 presidents.

Top ranked president, Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12. President’s Day is honored on February 21.