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'Kites Over The Hudson' Draws Visitors To George Washington's Headquarters, 1st Publicly Owned Historic Site

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - George Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site held its annual "Kites over the Hudson" event Saturday.

Site Manager Elyse Goldberg talked to CBS2, providing an overview of the park, which is the first publicly owned historic site in the nation.  It's also where George Washington conceived the Badge of Military Merit, which we know today as the Purple Heart.

"Kites over the Hudson is an annual kite festival that we hold here at Washington's Headquarters, where our Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands has provided 150 kites. They get an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful views of the Hudson, and fly a kite. It is the site where Washington was headquartered during the Revolutionary War, from April of 1782 until August of 1783, his longest stay anywhere during the war.  They had kites in the 18th century, as a past time, so it connects a little bit with that history too," said Goldberg.

"It flew pretty high.  We're still trying to get it higher though," said Maximo Viteri.

"I think it's an opportunity for the community to really enjoy this green space, to connect with some history. We really try to be part of the community, because this site has been here since 1850," Goldberg said.

"1850 it officially becomes Washington's Headquarters State Historic site, and we opened on July 4th, making us the oldest publicly owned historic site in the nation," said interpretive program assistant Paul Banks.

"It became a historic site because the community wanted to save it and protect this house because of what Washington did while he was here during the Revolutionary War. While Washington was here, he created the Badge of Military Merit, which later became the Purple Heart. He created that here as an award for enlisted men, not officers. This is the first one of the kind. So, that happened here. We know of three people who received it. One of those badges is actually in our collection on view at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor.  So, we feel that if we provide the community with a wonderful feel-good day on the site, they get to learn a little history while they're here, it's a win-win," said Goldberg.

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