Prince George County celebrated its 313th Birthday Saturday with a Founder’s Day ceremony at the Prince George Heritage Center.
The ceremony was marked with speeches from distinguished guests, a reading of the resolution that pronounced Prince George a county, and live music from First Class Jazz, members of the 392nd Army Band. The temperature was an even 79 degrees, and even better in the shade for attendees.
“We want to thank each of you for being here today,” Chairman William A. Robertson, Jr. said. “The Colonel is going to say a few words on behalf of Fort Lee. We all consider ourselves a military community here because Fort Lee is a very integral part of our community. Colonel here is a 29-year veteran of the Army. His family is the most important thing to him, his wife and three children. They live here in the area, and they plan on staying here when he retires in about a year. He has a very big interest in our community and especially Fort Lee.
Colonel Schweighler is originally from Buffalo, New York, but moved to Prince George after spending three years at Fort Eustis and living in Williamsburg.
“What a beautiful day to be out here on the lawn,” Colonel Schweighler said. “This is the second time I have had the pleasure of speaking here, and both days were beautiful weather, so I have to keep coming back here more. I was told I was a bit overdressed. I’m looking out on the crowd and its obvious, but I did this for you. I wanted to make sure I looked great when we came here tonight. It is my pleasure to have this uniform on.
“This is marking 313 years a successful vibrant community, and no small accomplishment. I congratulate you on reaching this important milestone. I am very pleased to represent the entire Fort Lee team today. You can see this not just and exciting celebration for Prince George County, but also the Fort Lee Community as we share a long history of cooperation and partnership.
“My family and I have been here for the last 11 months. We’ve been warmly welcomed throughout the community over the last year, and we are very appreciative of that. The last time I was here was at the Czech and Slovak festival last October. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the festivities here at that event. I couldn’t pronounce any of the food, but it tasted great. On behalf of the Chief of Transportation, we look forward to strengthening the bonds between Prince George County and the Fort Lee community.
“Thank you again for the invitation to join you here today. This is a terrific celebration. On behalf of team Lee soldiers, civilians and families, happy 313 and best wishes for many more.”
Supervisor Donald Hunter read the resolution naming Prince George a county and remarked on his remembrance of celebrations past.
“On or about 13 years ago when we had the actual tri-centennial,” Hunter said. “I see somebody sitting out there with a tri-centennial hat on. There were a bunch of those given out, but that was a great event. But now, here is the resolution that made Prince George what we are today.
“On and after the 23rd day of April, which shall be the year of our Lord God, 1703, the said county of Charles City be divided into two distinct counties, so that the James River divide the same and that, that part of the said county which is and lies on the North side of the said James River shall forever thereafter be called and known by the name of Charles City County, and that part of the said county which is and lies on the South side of the said river shall remain and forever thereafter be called and known by the name Prince George County, and it is by act of the General Assembly, August 25 1702.”
First Class Jazz played instrumental jazz as well as contemporary pop songs in tribute to Prince George County’s 313th birthday. Guests enjoyed ice cream and cake at intermission.
The next event at the Prince George Heritage Center will be the Magic of Prague: Life and Legends of Czechs and Jews in the Heart of Europe, held June 30 at 7 P.M. featuring Dr. Robert Rehak, Cultural Attaché, Embassy of the Czech Republic.
Benjamin May/Prince George Journal
Colonel Schweighler Speaks of the bond between Prince George County and Fort Lee