Our nation’s greatest hero and founding father resigned his position of Commander-In-Chief over the United States Continental Army on this day in history, 1783.
Following the departure of the British navy from the docks of New York, George Washington announced his resignation and disbanded his beloved army in the process.
The official address to the assembly came from inside the senate chamber of the Maryland State House:
“Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task; which however was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.”
Washington requested nothing in return but this of his comrades:
“While I repeat my obligations to the army in general, I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge, in this place, the peculiar services and distinguished merits of the gentlemen who have been attached to my person during the war. It was impossible the choice of confidential officers to compose my family should have been more fortunate. Permit me, sir, to recommend in particular, those who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favorable notice and patronage of Congress.”
He briefly and beautifully finished:
“Having now finished the work assigned to me, I retire from the great theatre of action; and bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take any leave of all the employments of public life.”
Through taking his leave, Washington established the pinnacle of human excellence and self-restraint, as Congress had given Washington control of virtually everything. He had the chance to effortlessly declare himself a monarch and rule as a power-hungry tyrant, destroying the liberty-based foundations the nation was built upon. Instead, the founding father chose to return to his humble and ever so cherished abode in Mount Vernon.
What made him a true hero was not the power at his command, but rather his remarkable ability to control it and utilize it to the benefit of the people. His wisdom and self-discipline will remain forever unrivaled as our country’s greatest man to ever live under God.