George Washington, The Heroic Flame of America

By David Garner of Danville, CA

Somewhere, a fire is created. Somewhere, a land is claimed. Somewhere, a voice, one voice, defines the power of a society. This great conflagration of burning heat and light, has been ignited as a myriad of voices in our society have united into one voice, under the flag of America. Unity, beauty, liberty and hope – this is America’s destiny. Yet our country’s foundation roots in a deeper promise; the promise of opportunity. Under our democracy, freedom has ceaselessly spread through the fives of each citizen like a fire. In America, each individual may chase their dreams and choose their destiny. In America, each citizen may voice their own opinions, disagree with each other, believe in their own god, and reach for the free sky with hope. "America, the beautiful! America, heart of the free!"

We are a powerful, united nation, because of the liberty earned from Britain with our forefathers’ victory in the American Revolution. As a result of their determination, we now have the right to pursue happiness, free of tyranny and unjust rule. We owe gratitude to the warriors of liberty, the soldiers who never abandoned their dreams.

Yet, Who ignited the fire of America? Why may I cry, laugh, study, sleep, hope and dream for myself7 Who can I thank for my freedom? George Washington – a president and a hero, as well as the "Father of His Country" – this is the source of the American fire. As one of our nation’s most influential leaders, General Washington, Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, led the fight in the Revolutionary War for freedom. He was an energetic, courageous commander, who inspired his soldiers’ confidence with valor and a devotion to liberty. He has changed America forever, his flaming torch, still burning today in our Constitution, and in our freedom.

Washington’s humble selflessness was essential in his leadership during the American Revolution. He treated soldiers with fairness, promoting military officers on the basis of merit, rather than friendships. He served our America with unparalleled dedication, inspiring his troops through hardships, like the losses at New York and Monmouth. He treated his soldiers as equals, suffered side-by side with them, and shared dreams with them, never losing his faith in the cause of freedom. On one occasion, he courageously rode on horseback to the front line, to encourage his troops to continue fighting. Although times grew difficult with a shortage of soldiers, weapons, food, and supplies, George Washington possessed a pervasive fire, leading the extremely daring crossing of the Delaware River, and the victories of the Revolutionary Army at Trenton and Princeton. The heat and flames of Washington's fire spread throughout his army, and bolstered the spirits of his followers, causing the British General Cornwallis to surrendered in 1781, at Yorktown. But the fire didn't bum out there; it spread ceaselessly...

Washington’s ambitious vision for American freedom was indispensable in ratifying the American Constitution. "We are one nation today, and 13 tomorrow. Who will treat with us on such terms?" he stated, of the weak Articles of Confederation. Although it was not popular among all states, Washington supported the call for change in the structure of the American Government. As the President of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787, Washington’s genius ability to influence others, helped convince the state governments to ratify the Constitution. Today, our Constitution still lives, the longest-standing written law in existence!

There is no question why George Washington, "first in war, first in peace," is also the "first in the hearts of his countrymen." He urged the Continental Army to set an example of respect for democracy and law for the rest of America. The American Revolution was more than just a war; it symbolized the beginning of an endless fire. Washington directed our new country towards the powerful and universally respected America of today. The united American voices are free, echoing from the mountain tops as one voice. These united citizens are proud, climbing to the zenith together. Washington, our country is in eternal debt for your fight to earn our liberty. We have opportunity – we have freedom!

Today, we live in a united democracy that thrives on the very principles Washington established over 200 years ago. Today, all races, religions, and sexes have an equal right to succeed. Today, our voices are not oppressed by law. Today, as Martin Luther King Jr. aspired, "the sons of former slave owners and the sons of former slaves ... [may] sit down together at the table of brotherhood." Today, a previously unachievable vision has been gracefully accomplished because of George Washington’s Revolutionary fight for our freedom. Yet there is still more to be achieved for tomorrow. We may always better America, surmount hardship, and make improvement, as Washington has shown. We will keep the gift of freedom alive, by fighting for even more freedom. We will preserve its beauty in your name, Washington, for you are its father. In the love of America, let us say, "we are one, for we are free!" Thank you for your heroic ignition. Your fire will never burn out. This is not a dream, this is a promise...