Celebrating George Washington’s Birthday at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum
Every February 22, members of the Rhode Island Society Sons of of the Revolution and the Artillery Company of Newport gather at the first Commander in Chief's statue in Newport on his birthday.
Every Feb. 22, members of the Rhode Island Society Sons of the Revolution and the Artillery Company of Newport gather at the statue of George Washington outside Newport’s Redwood Library and Athenæum to pay tribute to the commander in chief on his birthday. The statue is a replica of a marble sculpture by French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon that stands in the Virginia Capitol. “For somebody like Houdon, the major figures of the American Revolution were compelling hero types. And none was greater than Washington,” says Benedict Leca, executive director of the Redwood Library. Roy Lauth, president of the Rhode Island Society Sons of the Revolution, coordinates the annual event. Like the organization’s other members, he has close ties to the Revolution: His ancestor, Major William Taggart, transported troops from Tiverton to attack the British in Newport. Even as the legacy of many of the Founding Fathers as slaveholders has come under closer scrutiny, their lives remain intricately tied to the country’s founding. “It’s important to keep these events in people’s minds today. Our government is unique and our freedoms are precious, and we should always remember that,” Lauth says.