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First in Our Hearts

Some of our teachers preferred to concentrate on the other Washington, the political leader who, after the Constitution established our strong, central government, became our first President, which truly did make him The Father of Our Country.

Even in his own era, Washington was revered as the Indispensable Man who, to quote a popular phrase of that time, was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

I'll never forget one Washington's Birthday when, in a high school history class, our teacher asked if any of us had anything original to say about our first president.

Responding to the question, a friend of mine – an incorrigible wise guy – raised his hand and said: "Well, I once heard my dad say that George Washington may have been first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, but he married a widow."

The poor teacher apparently had never heard that one (neither had I), and for a moment there, I thought she was going to faint in her strenuous effort to suppress a laugh.


Written by Gary Paul Gates

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