Happy 285th Birthday, George.

The calendar notes today, February 22, as “Washington’s Birthday.” There is the universal assumption everyone knows what that means.

There is only so much space in that little calendar square, but the editors could have written “First President’s Birthday,” or “#1, Washington’s Birthday” couldn’t they?
I’m sure his image on the dollar bill, may have led to the misconception that the way to honor the first president’s birthday is with huge mattress sales.

There is so much more to the accomplishments and influence that George Washington packed into his lifetime. The impact of his journey through the Pittsburgh region, when he was 21 years old, in the winter of 1753-54, is an amazing story of the French & Indian war era. It led to events that changed the course of the world. The purpose to tell that heritage is one reason why we hold the Penn’s Colony Festival each September.

Yet, as interesting as that era is, there is so much more to the life of George Washington that the 1750s barely merit a sentence in many articles.

And deservedly so, did you know that Washington initiated the first mass inoculation of troops to prevent smallpox?    Fred Barbash wrote a great piece in the Washington Post and that amazing accomplishment isn’t even the point of the article.

We couldn’t, we wouldn’t, be here, the way we are as a nation, without George Washington. I would hope we truly honor that fact at least somewhere in our culture.

So Happy Birthday, George. You didn’t get a Google Doodle. But, you always have my lasting appreciation.