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Father Figure

By Wyatt Earp | September 1, 2006

Thank God for TiVo.

On Memorial Day weekend, The History Channel ran a two-hour event entitled, “Washington the Warrior.” It focused upon Washington’s military service, from 1752 through 1783. Being a history freak, I recorded it, but hadn’t the time to watch it until last night.

It was, in a word, friggin awesome!

And now, a few facts you may have not known about the greatest general in American history:

* Washington joined the Virginia militia at the age of 21, and thanks to family pull, he was commissioned a lieutenant.

* Washington’s first combat experience was a political train wreck. Unbeknownst to him, he attacked a French diplomatic party on its way to Virginia to discuss France’s venture into the Ohio area. Washington’s men wounded the diplomat, and then (after the shooting stopped) allegedly killed the man in cold blood. After the battle, he resigned his commission, only to rejoin at the outset of the French and Indian War.

* Washington’s second combat experience wasn’t a stroll in the park, either. His patrol was ambushed by guerilla fighters during the French and Indian War, and his commanding officer was mortally wounded. Washington then took command and led his men to safety.

* Like many colonists, Washington grew to despise Great Britain in the 1760′s, and during his first official portrait (pictured, above) , donned the uniform of the Virginia militia, instead of the British Army.

* During the Revolutionary War, Washington had to diffuse two serious attempts of defection. After the end of the war, officers threatened to declare war on Congress, until Washington personally spoke to the disgruntled. He began by telling them that his sight and youth had been sacrificed for his country, and when he pulled out his glasses – his men had never seen the general wearing them – the men began to cry. Mutiny averted.

Washington the Warrior was one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. If you come across it on The History Channel, make sure you catch it.

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