By Lynn R. Mitchell
Those familiar with Monticello will recognize the bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson that greets visitors as they climb the steps to board shuttle buses to the top of the mountain.
On Monday, April 13, 2015, admission to the grounds was free to celebrate the third U.S. President’s 272nd birthday and to enjoy the grounds, gardens, and grave site of this remarkable man. (Video of birthday ceremony here.)
Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga) signs autographs after the ceremony. He was the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership Award. His remarks were inspiring, worthy of a separate post (see Civil Rights leader Rep. John Lewis speaks at Monticello, receives Jefferson medal).
The Blue Coats were members of the Thomas Jefferson Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Spring in Virginia … tulips other other spring flowers were in full bloom.
The Honorable John Charles Thomas, Trustee Emeritus, Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
I found Mr. Jefferson taking a breather form his rounds as he sat surveying the landscape while guests continued to arrive for the ceremony. I asked if I could take his picture. This gentleman was quite a character and we crossed paths throughout the day.
A 21-gun salute to commemorate Jefferson from the Charlottesville-Albemarle American Legion Post 74.
The Red Coats were the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps of the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. They were entertaining and very reminiscent of Colonial Virginia.
I hate to get a picture of Mr. Jefferson taking pictures of the Old Guard. He, too, was thoroughly entertained by them.
Congressman Robert Hurt (R-5th CD), who represents the area that includes Monticello, during the Pledge of Allegiance.
John Charles Thomas introduced the guest speaker, Representative John Lewis (D-GA).
Mr. Jefferson surveying the tulips at the fish pond.
Ms. Leslie Greene Bowman (at podium), President, Thomas Jefferson Foundation; Rep. John Lewis, Keynote Speaker; John Charles Thomas, Trustee Emeritus with Thomas Jefferson Foundation; Donald King Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees with Thomas Jefferson Foundation; Rep. Robert Hurt.
Check out the drums that were a work of art all on their own. The Old Guard mingled with the crowd after the conclusion of the ceremony, talking and answering questions.
A dozen wreaths were presented in honor of Founders Day and Jefferson’s birthday including this one from the University of Virginia …
… and this one from the President of the United States.
The Red Coats and Blue Coats.
The grounds were stunning. We talked with a couple of the gardeners who were edging tulip beds and told them how beautiful everything looked. As we walked away, they went back to work, happily chatting with one another.
No, the cake’s not lopsided … it’s my crooked picture of Mr. Jefferson’s birthday cake before the ceremony …
… and as hundreds were going through the line.
The view of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia from Monticello as seen through the trees that were sprinkled with brightly-blooming redbuds. (I’ve said it before and will say it again … Virginia’s redbud trees look more like purple buds.)
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
April 13, 2015