Happy Birthday, George Washington!

He’s 279 years old this week–George Washington, our first President. Actually, living in the Hudson Valley within easy distance of so many Revolutionary War sites, I think of him more readily as General Washington, the Revolutionary War hero.

Our Hudson Valley historic sites have been celebrating Washington’s birthday this week with appropriate festivities– notably, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh and the New Windsor Cantonment. The Newburgh site contains Hasbrouck House, which served as the General’s headquarters from spring 1782 to summer 1783 and now houses a museum. Also on the grounds is the so-called Tower of Victory, built in the late 19th century to honor the centenary of Washington’s stay here. Inside this impressive stone structure is a statue of General Washington looking across the Hudson River at the Beacon Hills on the other side.

Another Revolutionary historic site that I return to again and again for its marvelous photo opportunities is the New Windsor Cantonment, where 7,000 troops of the Continental Army were encamped. This site also houses the Purple Heart Hall of Honor, where one can see marvelous exhibits about our country’s heroes. It’s a great place for parents to take their children; not only is there much to learn in the Hall of Honor, but on special occasion reenactors put on live exhibits of life in the days of the Revolution.  This weekend such demonstrations took place in honor of Washington’s birthday, and so I swung by briefly to get some photos of the soldiers who were about to fire their muskets and the cannon.

Living in the Hudson Valley one is always grateful for the area’s natural beauty and for the culture available here, but remember, as well, these historic sites that keep alive the memories of the people and events of our nation’s history.

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