Letter to the Editor

Monumental task

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dear Editor,

The person who becomes president in 2012 will have a monumental task.

Many people think of George Washington as a superhero with a lot of "on the job training."

He must have experienced apprehensive, nervous tension and uncertainty on April 30, 1789, when he arrived at Federal Hall in New York City.

No doubt he was remembering his experiences leading an army of part-time soldiers. In 1781, he is reported to have said "It is vain to think an army kept together under such circumstances could survive."

Robert Livingston, who established the state constitution of New York, gave Washington the presidential oath of office. The first president repeated the words after him, and then added "So help me God" and kissed the Bible, which he touched with his right hand.

Our new nation was in debt millions of dollars. Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasurey, was called upon to solve the problem.

Money was urgently needed to run the government. Advisors to Washington decided that it must come from import taxes. Washington was severely criticized for signing a trade treaty with Great Britain. John Jay, secretary of foreign affairs, helped negotiate it.

Newspapers published negative articles about the new president. Sometimes, he thought he was reliving another winter at Valley Forge.

James Madison, a future U.S. president, helped Washington write his farewel address.

After eight years in office, he was relaxed and happy. Long last, he was returning to Mount Vernon in Virginia.

As one of our founding fathers, he continued to think of our country's future.

He donated a tract of land covering 67 miles along the Potomic River. Known as Washing D.C., it became our U.S. capital. His last letter, written to Alexander Hamilton two days before his death in 1799, was about establishig a U.S. military academy (West Point.)

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Nebraska

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