On this day in 1789, George Washington (1732-1799) took the oath of office in New York City as the first President of the United States, presiding over a nation of nearly 4 million.
A hero with no excuses, Washington was born in Virginia and led America to independence in the American Revolution as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
He once said, "Many things which appear of little importance in themselves and at the beginning may have great and durable consequences."
With integrity, he joined the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1775 to help ratify the Constitution. He led his Valley Forge troops from defeat to victory, then was unanimously elected to lead the new Nation he helped create.
"Liberty, when it begins to take root," he said, "is a plant of rapid growth."
Historically, it's tough to separate the myth from the man. Biographer Richard Norton Smith revealed how the Father of Our Country loved pineapples, Brazil nuts, and salt cod. He played billiards and cards with passion. At 6'3" tall, Washington was formidable in stature... and reputation.
Articulate First Lady Abigail Adams wrote, "He has a dignity which forbids familiarity mixed with an easy affability which creates love and reverence."
Offer no excuses.