No wonder George Washington loved his home at Mt. Vernon. It’s nestled into 500 acres of rolling woodlands along the Potomac River just 17 miles south of Washington D.C. and less than an hour commute on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Of course, there was no such highway in George Washington’s day, nor were there any lovely airports… nor was Washington D.C. even America’s capital city until 1800,
the year after Washington died! So, in order to serve his country, Washington spent the lion’s share of his career traveling along muddy trails via carriages to New York and Philadelphia, only enjoying brief respites at his beloved Mt. Vernon estate. Touring Mt. Vernon with Liz and Chuck made me admire the Washington family even more than I had, and in light of the current political situation in America,I became quite curious about what motivated them.When you compare their home to the estates of European military heroes
during that period (for example, Napoléon Bonaparte),Mt. Vernon was remarkably modest and unpretentious. Although they were known for their extraordinary hospitality,they were never considered extravagant. (We enjoyed two of their favorite dishes at the Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant:
Peanut and chestnut soup with bread pudding for dessert.)What made George and Martha Washington willing to serve the cause
of their country as true statesmen without seeking fame or fortune? I kept wondering, but it wasn’t until I found the quiet site of the memorial Martha made for George, along with her beautiful tribute to his goodness (and I’m not sure if there’s a comparable affirmation to be found among the monarchs of the world), that I felt I’d found the reason for his true excellence of character. It’s written on the simple inscription hanging above their graves:
“I am the resurrection, and the life saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” St. John XI.25.26 The end of the verses that were written above their tombs was not recorded, but it was, “Believest thou this?” To me, it’s obvious that they did believe the words written in that verse, and that their lives demonstrated that faith beautifully!
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
(I took all the photos at Mt. Vernon and in Washington D.C. this spring except the picture of Napoléon Bonaparte’s estate, which is from the Corisca Travel Guide, http://www.eupedia.com )