George Washington in Trafalgar Square

American travelers in London, at least those who pay no attention to tour guides, are sometimes astonished when they see the above statue of George Washington in Trafalgar Square.  A gift from the people of Virginia, the statue bears the inscription:  “Presented to the people of Great Britain and Ireland by the Commonwealth of Virginia 1924”.  The presence of the statue in London is a tribute to the good relations that have existed between Great Britain and the United States for more than a century.

The greatest Englishman, half American as he was, paid this tribute to Washington: 

George Washington holds one of the proudest titles that history can bestow.  He was the Father of his Nation. Almost alone his staunchness in the War of Independence held the American colonies to their united purpose. His services after victory had been won were no less great. His firmness and example while first President restrained the violence of faction and postponed a national schism for sixty years. His character and influence steadied the dangerous leanings of Americans to take sides against Britain or France. He filled his office with dignity and inspired his administration with much of his own wisdom. To his terms as are due the smooth organization of the federal government, the establishment of national credit, and the foundational of foreign policy. 

In the great flow of history, the conflicts between Great Britain and the United States pale before the essential friendship that has developed between the two peoples, as was strikingly demonstrated by the Coldstream Guards in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks:

 

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Published in: on May 25, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on George Washington in Trafalgar Square  
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