The pictures above are of the Slave Memorial at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. It is disappointing to some to hear that the Washingtons had 317 slaves, but with a little study and consideration, we are able to discern the metamorphosis of George Washington's beliefs about slavery. For the sake of space, I won't describe everything, but suffice it to say that the General did not believe that slave families should be split up and he freed as many of his slaves as he could following his own death and his wife's a couple of years later. No other founding father did so.
The New Tomb
After we considered the lives of the slaves, our small group moved to the "new tomb", where we listened to a reading of a prayer that George shared for his country. I took the opportunity to silently pray at that moment, as well.
To accent the moment, the group sang the Star Spangled Banner.
Some of the bricks at the tomb have been engraved with people's names and initials. Upon closer observation, one finds the "signatures" of Civil War visitors to Washington's tomb - even one of Joshua Chamberlain. These carvings aren't out of disrespect, but are a way of signing the "guest book" so to speak.
Sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln visited this place, as well - just four days before his assassination.