A family tradition has sprung up over the years and this year it returned. We joined the annual planting or laying of the shamrocks from the Irish Embassy in Washington at the grave of George Washington Parke Custis, adopted grandson of President George Washington.
The Protestant Custis was known as a friend to the Irish people and a leading advocate of Irish freedom in the early part of the 19th century. He was very actively involved in Irish American affairs in Washington, DC before his death in 1857. Before he died, he wished aloud that someday an Irishman would come by and place a shamrock on his grave and say, "God bless him."
Custis grew up at Mt. Vernon and was raised by his adopted grandfather, George Washington. As a child, he heard the many stories from President Washington of the Irish involvement in the American Revolution. Washington attributed a great part of his victory in the revolution to the Irish serving in the American army.
This year we brought along the FlipVideo. Enjoy and "God bless him."
Here is the full text (in both England and Gaelic) of the message from the President of Ireland President Mary McAleese for St. Patrick's Day that was read by the press officer from the Embassy of Ireland in Washington, D.C.