George Washington Quote on Veterans

Discussion in 'Other Patriotism' started by Peter Ansoff, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." -- George Washington

    The above quotation shows up on many veteran-related web sites, and has also been used in speeches and documents by many officials, including the Secretary of the Navy and the Governor of Virginia. I have never seen a citation for it, however, and I was not able to find it in the two major online collections of Washington's writings (the Library of Congress and the University of Virginia). The closest thing that I was able to find was in a letter he wrote to Governor Trumbull of Connecticut on 28 June 1781:

    "Permit me Sir to add, that Policy alone in our Present Circumstances, seem to demand that every Satisfaction which can reasonably be requested, should be given to those Veteran Troops who, 'thro almost every Distress, have been so long and so faithfully serving the States . . ."

    However, the context of this comment was the need to treat currently-serving veterans well so that they would not become disgruntled and mutiny or desert. The Revolutionary War was still in progress; he was concerned about winning that war rather than recruiting for the next one.

    The phrasing of the "no matter how justified" quote also seems suspiciously modern to me (although I think that Washington would probably have agreed with the sentiment). Is this another of those supurious "quotes" that has taken on a life of its own through repetition? Has anyone ever seen a source citation for it?

    Peter Ansoff

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