• Washington, portrayed by Dean Malissa, joined Ann Bookout, 20th regent, Mount Vernon Ladies Association, and Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010, at the reviewing stand.

    Army honors nation's first president

    Washington, portrayed by Dean Malissa, joined Ann Bookout, 20th regent, Mount Vernon Ladies Association, and Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010, at the reviewing stand.

  • U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, hosts a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of former President George Washington on his birthday at Mount Vernon, Va., Feb 20. In honor of the day's event, Mount Vernon was free to the public. Many showed up to enjoy the ceremony and tour Washington's house on a day honoring past presidents.

    Army honors nation's first president

    U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, hosts a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of former President George Washington on his birthday at Mount Vernon, Va., Feb 20. In honor of the day's...

  • U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Military District of Washington hosts a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of President George Washington on his birthday at Mount Vernon, Va., on Feb 20.

    Army honors nation's first president

    U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Military District of Washington hosts a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of President George Washington on his birthday at Mount Vernon, Va., on Feb 20.

  • Soldiers of the Commander in Chief's Guard, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) fire their "Brown Bess" muskets from the defense against cavalry position during a firing demonstration at Mount Vernon, Va., Feb. 20. The Brown Bess is a .50 caliber smooth bore musket that was used by American forces during the Revolutionary War.

    Army honors nation's first president

    Soldiers of the Commander in Chief's Guard, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) fire their "Brown Bess" muskets from the defense against cavalry position during a firing demonstration at Mount Vernon, Va., Feb. 20. The Brown Bess is a .50...

Despite a forecast of weekend frozen precipitation, Mother Nature's gift was no snow on the ground on a crisp, but sunny morning Feb. 20. In honor of the nation's first president, Gen. George Washington, annual ceremony was held at his home at Mount Vernon, Va., for his 280th birthday celebration.

Thousands of visitors took advantage of the Presidents Day holiday from work and school to celebrate with free admission at the estate and gardens of Washington, as well as the chance to observe performances by members of The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

The day's celebration began with the presidential wreath-laying at Washington's tomb. The armed forces full-honor ceremony included the color guard procession, marching down a cobblestone pathway flanked by saluting Soldiers of The Old Guard dressed in Revolutionary War-era uniforms. As colors were posted, a wreath was placed at Washington's tomb by President Barack Obama's representative, Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, and Ann Bookout, 20th regent, Mount Vernon Ladies Association. The wreath laying was followed by Washington's prayer for our country.

Following the wreath-laying, a ceremony was held on the bowling green in front of the Mount Vernon mansion. Washington, portrayed by Dean Malissa, joined Bookout and Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010, at the reviewing stand.

Bookout welcomed the large crowd to the event, telling everyone Mount Vernon was the most visited historic home in America in 2011, with 1.1 million visitors. She then introduced Cameron, who sang the national anthem.

"We are here to celebrate the 280th anniversary of the birth of the father of our country, someone we revere as an extraordinary man of character and leadership," said Bookout. "We must always honor his legacy and never forget his unparalleled contributions."

Bookout reminded the crowd Washington served in the three most important roles in founding our country, as commander in chief during the American Revolution, president of the Constitutional convention and President of the United States. "He truly was, as he forever should be, first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Washington eloquently extended appreciation to everyone in attendance for recognizing his birthday and welcomed them to Mount Vernon, offering his most humble hospitality to several thousand guests.

Bookout then told the large crowd about the wreath she and Linnington placed at Washington's tomb. "I'd like to thank General Linnington and President Obama for being such an important part of this special day of celebration and to thank the Military District of Washington for its long-time support of George Washington and his Mount Vernon home," she said.

Following the speeches, everyone enjoyed a patriotic salute to Washington on the bowling green. The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps performed in uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of Washington's Continental Army. Following the performance, a demonstration was performed by The Commander in Chief's Guard, members of Company A, 4th Battalion and The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), wearing Revolutionary War-era uniforms, also patterned after Washington's Continental Army. The demonstration included weapons and tactics of the time, including firing "Brown Bess" muskets loaded with black powder.

Following the tribute to Washington, guests were invited to meet the general and enjoyed time chatting with him as well as a day of free admission at the Mount Vernon estate and gardens.

Page last updated Wed February 29th, 2012 at 00:00