Director of Public Affairs
MOUNT VERNON, VA – Solidifying a relationship of more than 25 years with the USS George Washington (CVN 73), a United States Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Mount Vernon president Doug Bradburn presented a replica key to the Bastille made from steel of the USS George Washington and a decorative box using Mount Vernon wood to the ship’s crew on June 4. In this special ceremony on the flight deck of the USS George Washington, Bradburn also presented Captain Glenn Jamison, Captain Daryle D. Cardone, and Command Master Chief Maurice Coffey with a copy of George Washington’s commander-in-chief flag that has flown at Washington’s Tomb.
The ceremony featured remarks from Mount Vernon’s Bradburn and the ship’s command, the presentation of gifts, and the unveiling of a new command patch for the crew of the USS George Washington. Worn on the shoulder, this badge features the American flag, the Gadsden flag, and the pattern of stars from Washington’s commander-in-chief flag.
“We are delighted to continue this strong relationship between the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and those who serve on the USS George Washington,” said Doug Bradburn, President and CEO of Mount Vernon. “We presented two important symbols of their service, the Bastille key represents liberty’s triumph and the flag represents fidelity to the cause of America’s independence. We honor those who sacrifice so much so that we can live in peace and freedom.”
The iron key to the Bastille was salvaged from the storming of the notorious Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, and sent to Washington with a drawing of the ruined prison, by the Marquis de Lafayette, who was serving as commander of the Paris National Guard at the time of the incident. Washington prominently displayed the key as a “token of victory by Liberty over Despotism” in his Philadelphia executive residence as president and then in the Central Passage at Mount Vernon, where it remains on view to this day.
From his commanding role in the American Revolution to guiding a young nation – Washington always valued the role of a naval force. In his second term as president, Washington signed into law the Naval Act of 1794 thereby creating the United States Navy. The first president wrote to Congress in 1796 that “To an active external commerce, the protection of a naval force is indispensible(sic).”
George Washington’s Mount Vernon maintains a strong partnership with the USS George Washington and has hosted the ship’s leadership and crew for many of its events.