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The Perfect Ashlar

BY Howard Coop

An ashlar is a stone cut square for building purposes. The perfect ashlar is a stone “made ready by the hands of the workmen,” and it reminds us of “that state of perfection at which we hope to arrive by virtuous education, our own endeavors, and the blessing of the Lord of the universe.”

George Washington is a name known to every American. Although his birthday is no longer a national holiday, most of us remember it each February. Some has called Washington called the “perfect ashlar,” a man by whom all American citizens “may gauge their labors and square their activities.”

But George Washington has been called more than that. He has been called “the Father of His Country,” and someone called him a “living stone” who “became the cornerstone of American civilization” and who “remains the milestone other civilizations follow into liberty and equality.”

Washington is remembered for his distinguished career. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and he is recognized as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was unanimously chosen to preside over the Federal Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia in 1787, and in 1789, he became the first president of the new nation and served it admirably for eight years.  During his presidency, he was privileged, on September 18, 1793, to lay the cornerstone for the United States Capitol in Washington. Henry Lee, an American Revolutionary War officer known a Light-Horse Harry, eulogized Washington as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

February 22, the birthday of George Washington, may not be a national holiday as it once was, but on that day, American citizens can remember him and the contribution he made to our nation. They can take a moment to be reminded that he is, indeed, the perfect ashlar by which they can, and should, gauge their labors and square their everyday activities.