Misattributed quote corrected
By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin
Published Jan 20, 2015 at 12:01AM
The misattribution of a quote to George Washington has been removed from a veterans monument on the steps of the Deschutes County Courthouse.
The quote is now credited to “Unknown” following a roughly $700 repair job in November, according to county Property and Facilities Director Susan Ross.
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation,” reads the monument, dedicated on Veterans Day 2005.
In September, Washington scholar and University of Virginia professor Edward Lengel told The Bulletin the quote has frequently been attributed to the first president but never authenticated. Lengel, the editor of the university’s efforts to preserve all of Washington’s writings, said though the statement has appeared in many books and political speeches, nobody has been able to point to when or where Washington made such remarks.
Ross said veterans groups working with the county suggested the quote as attributed to Washington when the monument was in the planning stages. Efforts to verify the quote at the time suggested it was authentic, she said.
Veterans groups were again consulted in recent months when county officials learned it was unlikely the quote originated with Washington.
“The choices we looked at were to just replace the quote completely with a quote we can definitively assign to someone, try to keep the quote and try to prove its authorship, or go ahead and just take out who we attributed the quote to and just put in, ‘Unknown,’” Ross said.
Ross said veterans groups and county officials agreed replacing Washington’s name with “Unknown” was the easiest way to resolve the situation. Whatever its origins, the quote captures the right tone for the monument, she said, and replacing the words with a new quote would have cost around $4,000.
“If we’re ever going to quote anyone again, we’re going to have to be much more careful,” she said.
http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/deschutescounty/2785173-151/washington-out-unknown-in-at-county-courthouseSo, there is no proof that George Washington ever wrote or uttered those words.
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