George Washington's Birthday
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"But come, ye sons of Liberty, Columbia's offspring, brave as free, In danger's hour still flaming in the van, Ye know, and dare maintain, the Royalty of Man!" ~ Ode to General Washington, Robert Burns, 1794
The George Washington Bridge
Today is Cherry Pie Day, named for the cherry tree legend associated with the first President of the United Sates, George Washington, born this day, Feb 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution.
His namesake bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge spanning the Hudson River between the borough of Manhattan in New York City and Fort Lee, New Jersey.
In 1794, Robert Burns wrote a poem dedicated to General Washington, a fellow freemason.
Burns had been an enthusiastic supporter of the French revolution in1789 before its later excesses and supported the American struggle for democracy.
A copy of the New York edition of Burns' poems were discovered in George Washington's library upon his death. The first verse reads:
Ode For General Washington's Birthday
No Spartan tube, no Attic shell,
No lyre Aeolian I awake;
'Tis liberty's bold note I swell,
Thy harp, Columbia, let me take!
See gathering thousands, while I sing,
A broken chain exulting bring,
And dash it in a tyrant's face,
And dare him to his very beard,
And tell him he no more is feared-
No more the despot of Columbia's race!
The apocryphal story of George Washington and the Cherry Tree (resulting in traditional cherry pie for Washington's birthday) goes as follows:
When George Washington was just six years old, his father gave him his first hatchet. Little George was delighted with his hatchet and liked to cut down everything in his path. In his mother’s garden, an English cherry tree grew, and it was that tree that George cut off all the bark until it died.
One day his father discovered the tree and approached George. George’s father asked who had killed his tree.
Young George was said to reply, "I cannot tell a lie. I cut it with my hatchet.”
This story (created as a tribute to Washington's reputation for honesty and integrity) was actually written by a gentleman named Mason Weems in a book about the life of George Washington while living at Ferry Farm.
For a variation on a classic recipe, click the pie below, and for more on the life of George Washington, click the vintage postcard.