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Excerpt from "A Funeral Oration on the Death of George Washington"
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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George Washington died on December 14, 1799. As the nation grieved for his loss, services were held in many cities and towns. February 22, 1800, [Washington's Birthday] was set aside as the official national day of mourning. Orations and eulogies extolled the virtues of the great man who had led the nation to victory in the Revolutionary War and who had been unanimously elected the first President of the United States. In his eulogy at the official Washington, DC memorial service on December 26, 1799, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee spoke these famous words: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting."
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