THE SUPREME COURT OF WASHINGTON
|STATEMENT IN RECOGNITION OF PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON||
The Washington State Supreme Court pauses in its proceedings to acknowledge the significance of George Washington’s birthday, which is celebrated as an official federal and state holiday on the third Monday in February of each year. The United States Congress has formally declared Washington’s birthday as a national holiday. 5 U.S.C. 6103. The State of Washington celebrates both the birthday of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington on the same day, designating the holiday as "Presidents Day." RCW 1.16.050.
General George Washington was commander-in-chief of the continental forces in the American Revolution, was President of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and was notified of his election as the first President of the United States of America on April 14, 1789.
Within two years of his election, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified by the states and became a part of the Constitution. He was reelected to a second term in December 1792 but thereafter did not seek an additional term, thereby establishing a tradition which would last until the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that no president would serve more than two terms.
Washington took the oath of his office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall, in New York City, with his hand upon an open bible. Embarrassed at the thunderous ovation which followed, the pealing church bells, and the roaring of artillery, he went inside to deliver his inaugural address to Congress where he spoke: ". . . the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are . . . staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
In his farewell address to the people of the United States, September 1796, Washington advised to "steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world" and expressed "my first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth."
As his final farewell, he spoke to the nation which he had fathered:
"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
"If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hands of God."
In recognition of the life and work of the father of our country, the commander-in-chief of its first army, and our first president, the Washington State Supreme Court honors George Washington and directs the Clerk of this Court to file this statement as a public record.
Statement issued at Olympia, Washington, on February ___, 1997.
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