The Ritz Herald
The Landsdowne portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. © National Portrait Gallery

Conover Foundation Reminds Us of George Washington and the Cherry Tree Legend

The Power of a Good Story

Published on February 17, 2020

Historic markers serve a fundamental purpose because they tell stories that help bind us together. Conover Foundation, Inc. has sponsored the creation of a historic roadside marker dedicated to George Washington, the virtues he brought to make the USA great, and his selfless service to our Nation.

Humankind loves to tell stories. Stories are the best way to remember concepts, ideas, and principles. A good story permits us to understand that we are a larger community and not merely a collection of individuals. In this legend, Washington admits fault when confronted by his father about the cherry tree and says, “I can’t tell a lie,” reflecting the virtue that, according to Parson Weems, was the foundation of his greatness.

In the big picture, the legend about George Washington and the cherry tree is a story about who we are as Americans, how we behave with each other as Americans, and how we behave with the rest of the world as Americans. Lectures about honesty are less effective than legends. By telling our children this legend we can teach them several principles about human relations and family dynamics at several different levels of understanding. This marker is a focal point to tell the story of America and how one man, and one family, played such an important role. Parson Weems published the first edition of his most influential work, later known as The Life of Washington, in 1800. Widely distributed across the United States, Weems’s book shaped the heroic image of George Washington in the mind of the American public.

The historic marker of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be dedicated by a ceremony at 10 AM EST on Monday, February 17, 2020. The ceremony and following activities will take place at Historic Dumfries Virginia & the Weems-Botts Museum at 3944 Cameron Street, Dumfries, Virginia.

SOURCE Mary Elizabeth Conover Foundation, Inc.
Associate Writer