by Colleen Ann Ruggieri
“George Washington was an evil man! He’s not a hero. You need to take that picture down,” my 13-year-old daughter admonished my brother while standing in his home. “He slaughtered Native Americans and owned slaves. My social studies teacher taught me all about him.”
“And you are sending your kids to that school?” my brother asked. I shook my head and vowed to investigate while gazing at his copy of “The Prayer at Valley Forge” by Arnold Friberg. It has always been one of my favorite works of art, and in our family, the portrait is symbolic of the power of prayer and what it means to be an American.
I would not condemn my daughter’s instructor until I knew the whole story. However, I could not get over her dismissal of Washington’s role as a Revolutionary War hero and his place in history as the first president of the United States.