Poor George Mason. The forgotten founding father. Oh sure, he has a university in his name, but where oh where is his memorial? Lincoln sits stately in his marble palace. George Washington’s phallus towers over the skyline. Jefferson keeps watch over the Tidal Basin beneath his dome. Rappers lament their lack of “Benjamins, baby,” an homage to Franklin’s perch on the $100 bill.
Don’t fret, Mason lovers! Six years ago, your man Georgie got his due, with a small memorial tucked away near the Jefferson along the banks of the Tidal Basin. We stumbled upon it last weekend when were returning from a picnic beneath the blossoms.
It is a small and peaceful place. A small reflecting pool surrounded by flowers. Words from the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was used as the blueprint for the Bill of Rights, are carved into the marble walls. A large bronze statue shows Mason in contemplative relaxation. He sits under an awning, his cane resting on the bench, legs casually crossed, looking out into the distance with a finger holding the place in his book. He’s about twice the size of a real person, dressed in knickers and a cravat, looking like a person who is about to found a nation.