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In these politically correct times, George Washington isn’t the hero he once was.
Children don’t read about him in school as much as their parents did. They’re much more likely to learn about African-American, Native American or female heroes.
New Jersey, in fact, issued new history standards a few years ago that omitted any mention of Washington.
Even when children do learn about him, it’s in an article in a boring textbook or a static image in a painting. There are no radio, TV or video clips that would make him come alive.
Washington’s stature has diminished so much that a recent Washington College Poll found that Americans had a higher respect for Bill Clinton’s job performance as president than they did for George Washington’s.
As we once again celebrate our nation’s birthday, it’s time to rediscover Washington, the role model.
From his earliest childhood, through his youth, military career, political career and retirement, Washington was a model of Christian virtues — strength and humility, servanthood and leadership, principles and forgiveness.
After Washington died, the Duke of Wellington, an enemy, said Washington had “the purest and noblest character of modern time — possibly of all time.” Washington’s selfless virtues do not play well in our look-at-me age. The heroes of the American Revolution are being relegated to the margins of high school history courses, and we must make sure that Washington is not the next to hit history’s trash bin.
His virtues are greatly needed today, as well as tomorrow, for they never go out of style.
(Posted on July 3, 2006)