Pam Dudding Contributing writer
George Washington served as a General and Commander-in-Chief of the colonial armies during the American Revolution. He later became the first President of the United States of America, serving from 1789 to 1797.
He is known for many famous quotes which continue to be repeated to this day. One such quote goes: “Be Americans. Let there be no sectionalism, no North, South, East or West. You are all dependent on one another and should be one in a union. In one word, be a nation.”
The owner of the Emporium General Store at 211 Main Street in New Castle has a tremendous love for books as well as history.
Owner Phil Spence is celebrating Washington’s birthday and has an open-door invitation for all to drop in and fill out a free raffle ticket for a framed 13×27 reprint of a painting done by Scottish artist John Faed in 1880. It is titled “Washington Taking the Salute at Trenton.”
It will be given away on Saturday, February 23. Spence will also be giving away ten “Washington’s Circle, The creation of the President” books.
When looking around The Emporium, one of the first things that stand out is the many books and pictures of the first President.
“From the age of 17, when he first started surveying the frontier lands, his life became entwined with the emerging Virginia colony and the struggle for independence,” said Spence. “The founding of the United States was unlike any seen before in history, and Washington would become its first President.”
Added Spence, who believes the country needs more people like Washington: “His values and self-sacrifice for what he believed should be a model for all Americans. At one time in our history, he was the role model that all aspired to.”
Washington himself said, “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”
“When we think that one person does not matter and one person’s contribution is insignificant, just ask what if there had been no George Washington?” said Spence before adding, “His accomplishments and failures are too many to recount in a small article.
You will find a treasure chest of books to read and learn about President George Washington in The Emporium’s book room, from Farmer and Soldier to Virginian and American. “All these things encompass the George Washington that we remember,” Spence noted.
Free copies of Rules of Civility – a book of good manners that Washington practiced all his life – will be available. President Washington’s Farewell Address will be available too.
“They are still relevant today and, we would do well to teach them to the next generation,” Spence said.
George Washington once said, “The future of this nation depends on the Christian training of our youth.”
Spence shared that he feels his insight into the potential problems of the developing new nation is remarkable. He said, “we have many of the problems he warned about confronting our government in this day.”
Another popular quote from Washington is; “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.”
Spence shared the facts about the origin of Presidents’ Day which was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879.
“In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved a number of federal holidays to Mondays. During debate on the Bill, it was proposed that Washington’s birthday be renamed Presidents’ Day. Following much discussion, Congress rejected the name change, but after the bill went into effect in 1971, Presidents’ Day became the commonly accepted name,” Spence said.
Washington was known for his faith. He once shared, “Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy Holy Word…direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. Bless, O Lord, all the people of this land.”
When visiting the Emporium, one may wish to check out some of their newer items: Ashe County Cheese and Byrd Meal from Shenandoah including, sweet potato biscuits and raspberry pancakes. One may also want to purchase Carolina gloves or the Spenco insoles.
“We now carry Terry Talks Nutrition which helps to stop diabetes naturally,” Spence said.
Their mission statement mirrors their heart to serve: “We endeavor to honor our customers with the highest quality products, excellent customer service along with a fun and delightful experience. We are honored that you have chosen us, The Emporium General Store, for your quality purchases. We welcome you not only as a customer, but also as a new member of the ever-growing Emporium Family.”
Spence welcomes all to The Emporium General Store where one can find almost anything they need and much of what they want. Join he and his wife Deborah for a free cup of coffee, hot chocolate or tea and meander throughout the store or sit for a spell in the book room. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.