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Sen. Peters delivers reading of George Washington's farewell address

Posted at 1:49 PM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-26 13:50:09-05

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) will deliver the annual reading of President George Washington's Farewell Address on the Senate floor Monday, February 26 at 3:00 PM.

This annual event has been taking place since 1896.

U.S. senators of alternating parties read the address of former President George Washington in observance of his birthday.

The address contains 7,641 words.

"President Washington's Farewell Address offers a powerful message about the strength derived when our nation comes together as one-a message that is as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1796," said Senator Peters. "Washington's words provide a valuable perspective at a time when our partisan politics are deeply divisive and increasingly marked by vitriol. I'm honored to take part in this tradition that returns to our country's roots, inspires all Americans to strive for unity, and guides elected officials to seek out bipartisan compromises that help our nation move forward together."

The tradition began in the midst of the Civil War, when Secretary of the Senate John W. Forney read the Address at a joint meeting of the House and Senate to commemorate the 130th anniversary of Washington's birth in 1862. The tradition has been an annual event in the U.S. Senate since 1896. At the conclusion of each reading, the selected senator signs their name and writes a personal note in a book kept by the Secretary of the Senate. 
Peters is the third senator from Michigan to deliver the Address. Michigan's U.S. Senators Julius C. Burrows and Arthur Vandenberg delivered it in 1902 and 1930, respectively. Peters' family also has a personal connection to Washington. He is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and his forefather, William Garrett, served in the Virginia militia alongside General Washington at Valley Forge during the harsh winter of 1777-1778.