George Washington Honored During Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Mount Vernon
Story by PO3 Trey Hutcheson on 02/25/2019
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – (Feb. 19, 2019) In honor of Presidents Day 2019, thousands of visitors from around the world visited Mount Vernon, Virginia to admire the legacy of the hero of the American Revolution, and the first president of the United States of America.
For the second time since beginning its refueling complex overhaul (RCOH), Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) were invited to participate in Presidents Day commemoration events at Mount Vernon, the home and final resting place of the first president, George Washington.
“What better way to honor his memory and celebrate his birthday than to showcase to the world that the men and women of the United States Navy, and all of our armed forces, continue to follow his example, sacrificing for our country and defending the ideals of upon which he founded and forged this nation,” said Capt. Daryle Cardone, executive officer aboard USS George Washington.
The Mount Vernon Ladies Association invited USS George Washington crewmembers to participate in commemoration events for just the second time in 26 years of the ship’s service.
“George Washington’s Mount Vernon feels a special bond with the ship that carries his name,” said Rob Shenk, the senior vice president of visitor engagement at Mount Vernon. “Having Capt. Cardone, [Command Master Chief] Coffey and other members of the crew laying a wreath at George Washington’s tomb was a special moment on this day in which we celebrate the 287th birthday of our founding father.”
Members of USS George Washington’s color guard attended the 287th Birthday Ceremony to present the colors during a wreath-laying ceremony at George Washington’s tomb.
“I volunteered because I wanted to represent our command at George Washington’s home and show the audience members there what USS George Washington Sailors are all about,” said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Alyssa Kean, from Louisville, Kentucky, a rifleman in the color guard.
USS George Washington Sailors also toured Mount Vernon, spoke to, and posed for photographs with visitors to the estate.
“Having Sailors from the George Washington at the estate today helped to strengthen the connection between George Washington’s role as our first commanding general and the men and women whom today serve our nation in the armed forces of the United States,” said Shenk. “Washington would be proud to know today’s Sailors as I know many of our guests are.”
After the wreath-laying ceremony, Sailors went to the George Washington education center at Mount Vernon to speak with visitors.
“I enjoyed speaking with the children at the meet and greet we had after the wreath-laying,” said Kean. “The kids were curious about the Navy and excited to speak with us about what we do in the Navy.”
The associates of Mount Vernon want USS George Washington Sailors to have a connection to George Washington and their ship.
“I hope that their visits to Mount Vernon deepens their appreciation of George Washington and builds an even tighter bond to USS George Washington,” said Shenk.
A trip to Mount Vernon gave the Spirit of Freedom crew and those in attendance the chance to reflect on the life, sacrifices, and leadership of George Washington. He was a husband, farmer, soldier, and statesman who “was first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” famous words about George Washington from his eulogy written by Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee (www.mountvernon.org).
Happy 287th Birthday to our first president, and our namesake!