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SENTRY JOURNAL » George Washington, Lansdowne portrait, rebuilding, strong foundation, war of 1812, White House » Rebuilding the White House

Rebuilding the White House

by RightHandMan

The White House is a curious place. Often the Capitol Building is mistaken for the White House – perhaps because it too is white. The simplicity of the mansion’s design was a major factor when John Hoban won the design competition; but its simple name (White House) wasn’t deemed until Teddy Roosevelt made it official.

The White House has stood strong through many changes in our nation. It was largely built by slave labor and yet has stood long enough to have a free black man stay as its primary resident. It was initiated though never inhabited by George Washington who had no party, yet has since housed every President, all belonging to one of 6 different parties. It was built without electricity, air conditioning, telephones, internet, a drive way, an air pad, and the need for a nuclear bunker and yet has all of those today. Still, its outer walls are largely unmolested and its sandstone structure still stands strong.

The White House even survived the British arson in 1814. President Madison, his wife and his servants fled as British troops ate his food and then set fire to the house. It burned through the night and could be seen from a great distance. Few objects were saved from the house, but the gardener and the door-keeper took the time to save the 8 foot tall picture of George Washington known as the Lansdowne portrait prior to fleeing. There was much debate about moving the President’s Mansion to Cincinnati, Ohio in order to avoid future British attacks by sea. Instead, James Monroe moved into the reconstructed White House in 1817.

To me the White House is symbolic for many things. It has strong, thick outer walls that fortify it, yet a largely customizable interior that can evolve and change. It provides shelter and comfort to all types of men and women, regardless of race, creed, or party affiliation. The White House is able to withstand all of this because it has a solid foundation – much like this great nation.

Today the White House is being gutted, soiled, and burned. The actions and political philosophies of this President are damaging and extremely different from those of those who dwelled in the house before. Many have fled in fear. There are those who have lost hope. Some believe we should scrap it all and rebuild.

Take comfort my friends. The foundations of this nation, like the walls of that great house cannot be easily destroyed. We shall recoup and renovate. We will prove that while men may move in and out of the executive dwelling, the American people, the U.S. Constitution, and their principles are the structure which provides the longstanding strength and integrity. Our ideals may have been forced out for a short while, but we shall return and we will hang again the giant portrait which properly represents our founding beliefs.

E Pluribus Unum


Filed under: George Washington, Lansdowne portrait, rebuilding, strong foundation, war of 1812, White House

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  • John Carey August 13, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    Thanks for the post Right.

  • Matt August 13, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Great post, great point. Thanks, Right Hand Man.

  • Steve Dennis August 14, 2010 at 5:26 AM

    Great post! America always endures, not matter what we have had to go through. And we will prevail once again!