- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 16:59
- Published on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 16:59
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Congressman Rob Wittman delivered the keynote speech this Saturday, when the James Monroe Memorial Foundation and friends gathered at Westmoreland County’s Monroe Hall to celebrate the 252nd anniversary of the birth of James Monroe.
Visitors attending the celebration on the Monroe birthplace property brought gifts that have been added to the collection of items displayed in the historic site’s visitor center. One new display item presented on Saturday is a photocopy of Monroe’s Masonic apron.
Wittman, who previously served as Montross mayor and Westmoreland Board of Supervisors Chairman, described the county where Monroe was born as “the cradle of democracy.”
Echoing his predecessor, the late Congresswoman JoAnn Davis, Wittman continued, “This really is America’s first district.”
Wittman acknowledged the work the Monroe Memorial Foundation has completed since 1927 to preserve the legacy of the nation’s fifth President. He additionally praised the initiatives of such groups as the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution and the National Sojourners, whose toast to the flag has been a highlight of the annual birthday event in Westmoreland.
The Congressman noted Monroe’s humble beginnings, his life and hard work on the family property until his departure, at age 16, to enroll in the College of William and Mary, the education cut short by distinguished service in the Continental Army and then a long career of public service that included election to Virginia’s General Assembly and the Continental Congress. Monroe also served as Governor of Virginia, United States Senator, Secretary of State and Secretary of War before his election to the office of United States President.
“In his long career, James Monroe demonstrated an understanding of all levels of government,” the Congressman commented, reflecting further that the Westmoreland native’s service came at a time when national identity, patriotism and capitalist economics were on the rise.
“It was a very exciting time in which James Monroe demonstrated his ability to direct the nation’s course. The years of his Presidency are remembered as the Age of Good Will and that is something we need to bring back in order to instill nonpartisanship,” Wittman told the group that gathered for Saturday’s event.
Wittman upheld Monroe’s accomplishments as a model for solving contemporary problems in the nation and in the world.
“He knew what the people wanted and he expanded the nation’s borders. He knew the Americas needed to be free of foreign influence. James Monroe was a loyal public servant, an outstanding statesman and a visionary leader,” the Congressman explained.
Wittman recently introduced a bill, HR 4329, that would authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of President James Monroe. Proceeds from the sale of the coin would be used to reconstruct the old Monroe family farm on the historic Westmoreland County property. Monroe artifacts would additionally be purchased from the sales proceeds and would be housed in the Monroe Birthplace Education Center and Museum.