On a picturesque April 13 overlooking the Tidal Basin draped in lovely blooming cherry blossoms, the 275thanniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson was celebrated with the annual wreath laying ceremony at the Jefferson Memorial.
The ceremony was conducted by the District of Columbia Sons of the American Revolution in cooperation with the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior and the Military District of Washington. The prelude music and national anthem were performed by the U.S. Marine Band Brass Quintet, reverberating off the marble faces and across the tidal waters. Master of Ceremonies Paul Hays (Past President DC SAR) honored Jefferson by reading the words on his self-scripted gravestone. Robin Nixon, Acting Deputy Superintendent National Mall and Memorial Parks, provided the welcome speech.
The ceremony culminated with a wreath laying by 16 societies associated with Jefferson and his legacy. Representing the DSDI, Tucker Croft (Descendant of William Hooper) laid a red and blue wreath,with his family in attendance: wife Claire, 2-year-old daughter Eloise, and youngest participant, son Edward, who was born Jan 22. Eloise decided the ceremony would be better viewed from a different perspective. She fled the roped-off seating area and played nearby with her great-aunt. Fellow DSDI member, Angus Slater Lamond, Jr (descendant of Thomas Jefferson), presented the wreath for the Monticello Association with three generations: daughter Ann Randolph Lamond Schramm and grandson Oliver Michael Schramm. With cherry blossoms slowly drifting from the trees, the ceremony culminated in a soulful Sounding of “Taps” by MSgt. Scott Gearhart.
Jefferson’s words on the obelisk:
Here was buried
Author of the Declaration of American Independence
of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
& Father of the University of Virginia
As Jefferson explained: “Because by these as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.”