Monday, October 14, 2013


Be it resolved that the Senate and House of Representatives;

Resolved, That the two Houses of Congress will assemble in the Hall of the House of Representatives on an hour to be fixed and announced by the Joint Committee on the 22nd February or 19th September --whichever is sooner-- and that in the presence of the members of both Houses there assembled the Farewell Address of President George Washington be pronounced by the President of the Senate pro tempore (or his appointee) and that the Speaker of the House of Representatives be requested to invite the President and ex-Presidents of the United States, the Heads of the several Departments, the Justices of the Supreme Court and Members of the Federal Judiciary, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Governors of the several States, Territories, Possessions, etc., the representatives of foreign governments accredited to our own, and that the Secretary of State shall require all US ambassadors abroad to be connected via teleconference.

Resolved, That the proceedings of the day, including the Farewell Address, be published in pamphlet form in a manner suited to the dignity of the occasion and widely circulated among the American people and that audio and video recordings be made available on the Internet.

Resolved, That the President of the United States, Commander in Chief of the Armed Services, be requested to direct that orders be issued for the reading of the Farewell Address, or suitable parts of it, be read aloud on that day, wherever practicable, at the head of the armies, on board ships and aircraft of war, as well as military bases, hospitals, etc.

Rationale behind the above:

Several years ago, this writer met then-West Virginia State Senator Clark Barnes and engaged him in a most cordial conversation. Hence, it was assumed he would be a valuable ally in his cause to restore our Founding Father's final words to the American people and posterity to the highest level of national prominence and their rightful place in the hearts and souls of our fellow citizens.

This draft resolution --based on extensive research-- was composed and hand-delivered (along with supporting documentation which has been replaced with hyperlinks in this enhanced version) to his local office in Elkins, WV.  It's hard to think of a better way to start than to bring all those in positions of power in the U.S. Government together for a formal reading followed up with thorough public discussions, conferences, and debates throughout the United States as well as the world. 

Astonishingly, no answer of either acceptance or rejection was ever forthcoming. Copies were later sent to then-Congresswoman, now Senator, Shelley Moore Capito who DID answer. She advised that she forwarded copies to him. Still, no response. Sure, an appeal could've been made to Senator Byrd directly but nothing a single concerned citizen could conceive of writing could ever carry as much weight as a --hopefully unanimous-- resolution from his own State Senate. He was selected by this writer to do the honors because of his being a well-known champion of The Constitution as well as the fact that, on the occasion when this writer went to the Senate gallery to witness the traditional annual reading after his having facilitated its correction and granting of his request for a special exception to the long-standing, strictly-enforced "no-reading materials-in-the-gallery" rule. Although he was very disappointed that it was read before a nearly empty chamber, he could not help but notice Sen. Byrd reading along attentively from the text because, obviously, it meant something to him.

It is suspected that most people who pose in front of the American flag inside government buildings surrounded by barricades and phalanxes of armed guards in the District of Columbia think His Excellency's Farewell Address was a place where postal letter-carriers would deliver his mail -- else they consider it some useless antiquity that has no place in present day affairs of government and international diplomacy.  That argument can readily be refuted by an editorial in The Evening Star --then the preeminent newspaper in our nation's capital-- dated September 19, 1896 . It read: 
 ``It might reasonably be supposed that the lapse of years and the social and industrial revolutions that have taken place since the physical Washington ceased to be would have brought so much of change in our institutions as would make the valedictory of the first president antiquated and useless; as a matter of fact, the words of the nation's father are as easily applicable today as they were a century ago." 
That statement rings as true today as it did then and as it will 500 years from now and to eternity...

Proposed draft:



Whereas; The Founding Father and first president of the United States, His Excellency: the Most Honorable GEORGE WASHINGTON, in his Farewell Address of 19th September 1796 to the People of the same, did humbly “offer to (our) solemn contemplation, and recommend(ed) to (our) frequent review, some sentiments which (were) the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear(ed) to (him) all important to the permanency of (our) felicity as a people” and, with heart-rending humility, did “flatter” himself by wishing that those “counsels of an old and affectionate friend” would “now and then recur” to “be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good”; and

Whereas; the Constitution of West Virginia (3-20) declares that, “Free government and the blessings of liberty can be preserved to any people only by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.” and

Whereas; On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. “As the first of everything, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.”

Whereas; no single document more clearly expresses and defines the fundamental principles of the Founding Fathers regarding the conduct and preservation of American republican government as eloquently and explicitly than the Farewell Address of President George Washington; and

Whereas; the Honorable John Marshall, 4th Chief Justice of the United States, declared; “This interesting paper contains precepts to which the American statesman cannot too frequently recur.” and,

Whereas; Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, in his own equally brilliant Farewell Address, declared that “the lessons contained in this invaluable legacy of Washington to his countrymen should be cherished in the heart of every citizen ... his paternal counsels would seem to be not merely the offspring of wisdom and foresight, but the voice of prophecy, foretelling events and warning us of the evil to come.” and,

Whereas; not since 1862, when Sen. Andrew Johnson declared, “In view of the perilous condition of the country, we think the time has arrived when we should recur back to the days, the times, and the doings of Washington and the patriots of the Revolution, who founded the government under which we live,” have President Washington’s  timeless words of admonition to the People of the United States been subjected to a  formal pronouncement before both Houses of Congress, the Heads of all Branches and Departments of the government and NEVER with either the sitting or former presidents of the United States and representatives of foreign governments in attendance. And NEVER over airwaves and the internet in a manner so that it be subjected to intensive scrutiny and discussion by mass-media broadcasters, journalists, educators, students, and citizens worldwide; and

Whereas; the Honorable Melville Weston Fuller, 8th Chief Justice of the United States, declared before a Joint Session of Congress that, “If we turn to this remarkable document and compare the line of conduct therein recommended with the course of events during the century—the advice given with the results of experience—we are amazed at the wonderful sagacity and precision with which it lays down the general principles through whose application the safety and prosperity of the Republic have been secured.” and

Whereas; The Evening Star editorial (the leading newspaper in our nation’s capital in 1896), in observing the centenary stated that, “That remarkable document should at all times be deeply interesting to every true American . . . It should be read and reread and thoroughly understood by every being who prides himself upon lawful possession of the title of American Citizen.” and

Whereas; U.S. Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission Director General, the Honorable Sol Bloom, declared that, “Among the many valuable state papers of the Nation two are most intimately connected with the Constitution. These are The Declaration of Independence, which opened the way for it, and Washington’s Farewell Address on keeping in the path.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez declared that, “Every citizen of the United States should consider it a duty to read Washington’s Farewell Address.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Herbert O’Conor declared that, “It remains one of the outstanding utterances of American History and shall ever be a fitting reminder of our duty to abide by the lessons of the past. Furthermore, the efflux of time has served to emphasize its soundness, foresight and judgment. It’s re-reading makes us even more proud of American Citizenship.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Hubert Humphrey declared that, “Every American should study 
this memorable message. It gives one a renewed sense of pride in our republic. It 
arouses the wholesome and creative emotions of patriotism and love of country.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater declared that, “In these days, when the troubles 
of the mind and the conscience are multiplying, as we tend to turn more to the material 
and less to the spiritual for the solutions to them, it is correct that Americans pause to 
remember their basic sources of strength—these sources are carefully outlined in the 
documents left us by those wise men who, thru God, created our republic—it will 
forever be a source of pride that it fell my lot to read to my colleagues & thru them, The 
American people, The inspiring and thought provoking Farewell message of George 
Washington on this (day).” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Frank Church declared that, “The wisdom contained in the 
Farewell Address is ageless; the admonitions remain as valid as the circumstances 
which then prevailed. To the degree those circumstances have changed, we must 
measure the advice of George Washington against the living facts of our own times.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Frank Moss declared that, “His words of counsel and admonition 
retain their vigor and wisdom today after a century and a half have changed our 
republic and the world to ways undreamed in Washington’s time.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph declared that, “Today has been a truly 
significant one for me! It is my understanding that this remembered event gave to me 
the real privilege of being the second West Virginian serving in the United States 
Senate to have read Washington’s Farewell Address… I shall never forget the words 
‘Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to 
concentrate your affections’ in the Address. They are so meaningful!” and

Whereas; Senator Randolph set a record for the longest time of delivery (1 hour, 8
minutes) which, after the passage of fifty-five years, remains unbroken due to his
savoring every word” because “They are so meaningful!” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Mike Mansfield, in commending Sen. Randolph for his “excellent 
and outstanding rendition,” declared that, “I think it is appropriate at this time to recall 
that during the darkest hours of the American Revolution the Father of our Country 
said; ‘Give me but a banner to plant upon the hills of West Augusta—’ which, if I
may interpolate, is now the State of West Virginia— ‘and I shall gather around me 
those men who will set this bleeding nation free.’ George Washington … said that
midst its green and quiet hills was the very essence of freedom itself.” 1; and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Gordon Allott declared that Sen. Randolph’s “rendition reminded 
me what a great intellect fathered our country and that perhaps in this latter time we 
have tended to confuse great intellectual ability with mere mental acrobatics or 
gymnastics. There is a great difference. I only wish that hundreds more could have 
heard the rendition given by the distinguished Senator from West Virginia.” 2; and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Jack Miller declared that, “I wish that more Members of Congress
down through the years, including present Members of Congress, had heeded these
words…” 3; and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Glenn Beall, Jr. declared that, “The words of George Washington 
show his unusual perceptiveness and his feeling for the enduring nature of the 
government that he helped to form.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen declared that, “A different era and a different 
nation, but human emotions remain constant. In the relations of men to each other, the 
sagacious words of this great patriot live on with rare import and substance.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Vance Hartke declared that, “It is a remarkable document that has a constant thread of a true American; a true believer in peace and progress. As we 
begin our new century it is my hope that we renew the Spirit of Washington for a world 
of peace and liberty for all time.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Walter Huddleston declared that, “…the profound admonitions of 
our first president, the wisdom of which is just as certain today as when originally 
delivered.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Paul Trible declared that, “I pray that the spirit of ardent 
patriotism, joyous adventure, and religious zeal that marked the life and words of 
George Washington will live again in our land.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Terry Sanford declared that, “President Washington’s thoughts 
about the young and fragile republic clearly mark his concerns for our nation. They 
come today as fresh and compelling as they were when he wrote them. It is remarkable 
that George Washington had the vision that is still appropriate two hundred years 
later… that faith and vision our country still needs.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Chuck Robb declared that, “While the prose may be somewhat 
dated, the wisdom is timeless, and I only regret that we’re not more disposed to heed it 
today than were our forebears.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Harris Wofford declared that, “What a falling off there has been 
since the standard of thought, writing and action Washington set! May his words 
invoke the ‘better angels of our nature’ to help us revive and live up to those standards 
of service to the common good.” and

Whereas; U.S. Senator Dirk Kempthorne declared that, “The fact that his words were 
written as a guiding light for the future of this nation makes the actual moment of 
delivery of the speech timeless... as citizens we must never lose our exposure and 
connection to the principles of our Founding Father. The fact that Madison, Hamilton, 
and Jay all contributed to this speech reflects the sentiments of this group of dedicated 

Whereas; author Michael A. Genovese declared that, “The Farewell Address is
considered one of the most important state papers in American presidential history.” 4;

Whereas; President George W. Bush declared that, “Ignorance of American history and 
civics weakens our sense of citizenship… We love our country, and we must teach our 
children to do the same. And when we do, they will carry on our heritage of freedom 
into the future.” and

Whereas; in consideration of the above, the West Virginia State Senate is hereby,

Requesting that The Honorable Robert C. Byrd introduce a Joint Resolution in the United States Senate and for the House of Representatives as (top of page)

unlinked sources:

1 Congressional Record – Senate – February 22, 1962 – pg. 2822
2 ibid
3 ibid
4 “Encyclopedia of the American Presidency” - pg. 476

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