: This Is America (. . )


: 1709

Text 1

Match the vocabulary items with their definitions





a statue or structure established to remind people of a person or event




a person whose job it is to work as a member of the crew ship




be all around (someone or something)




try to persuade someone to do something




observe and direct the execution of (a task or activity)




fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault)




stand as a candidate in an election




send (a missile, satellite, or spacecraft) on its course or into orbit




believe or feel that someone is guilty of an illegal, dishonest, or unpleasant act, without certain proof


run for


the ability to notice things, especially significant details





Read the text as quickly as possible and answer the questions


1. Why do Americans honor George Washington?


2. Where is the obelisk situated?


3. What do the fifty flags surrounding the monument represent?


4. What improvements have been recently made?


5. What is the job of National Park officials like?


6. Why did Washington reject the idea of the statue?


7. When was the first stone of the monument placed?


8. When did the Washington National Monument Society start raising money for a memorial?

9. When did it finally open to the public?


10. How does the sentence in the monument express the attitude of the nation to their first president?


George Washington


The tallest structure in Washington, D.C., honors George Washington, the first president of the United States. He led the American colonies in the war of independence against England from 1775 to 1783. Later he headed the group that wrote the American Constitution. As president, he helped the new United States of America through its difficult first years.


Today, millions of people from around the world visit the stone structure that honors George Washington. The Washington Monument stands almost one hundred seventy meters high, not far from the Potomac River. The monument is a white stone structure called an obelisk. Its four sides end in a point at the top.


Fifty American flags surround the monument. They represent the fifty states. The Washington Monument is one of the most photographed places in the world. Lights shine on the obelisk at night. It can be seen from far away. Fireworks are launched from near the monument on Americas Independence Day 4, July and during other special celebrations.


The monument recently reopened after being closed for more than a year. Workers made several improvements. They built a new elevator to carry visitors to the observation area at the top of the monument. New security measures also were added. Workers had carried out a more extensive repair project beginning in 1998. That project took two years and cost more than nine million dollars.


Visitors to the Washington Monument begin by getting a free ticket. Long lines often form at the ticket office. Once people have their tickets, they stand in a short line near the monument. National Park Service officials supervise the Washington Monument. They lead visitors to a big elevator for the ride up to the observation area at the top of the monument. During the ride, another Park Service employee tells about the history of the structure. He also tells visitors they can see all of Washington from the observation area if the weather is good.


The observation area is more than one hundred fifty meters high. Many people say ooh and aah as they stand at the windows. Looking north, you can see such famous places as the White House. You can also see the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Willard Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Washington. Americas 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, stayed there. To the east, you can see the Capitol building, where Congress makes laws. You can also see the Smithsonian Institution museum buildings.

The return elevator trip to the ground is equally interesting. Two sides of this elevator have windows. Through the windows you can see some of the almost two hundred carved memorial stones on the inside walls of the monument.


Every state gave a stone to the monument. Stones also arrived from other countries. For example, one stone came from the library of Alexandria, Egypt. The Free Swiss Federation in Switzerland gave a stone that says, To the Memory of Washington. Japan gave a stone made from rock from a volcano.


It took many years to build the Washington Monument. America almost got a very different memorial to George Washington instead of the present one. Congress decided to pay for a statue of George Washington on a horse. The lawmakers did this even before the signing of the treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War. The statue was to show how General Washington led American troops to victory against England. However, he said he did not want the nation to spend money for the statue.


A group called the Washington National Monument Society started raising money for a memorial in 1833. Officials placed the first stone of the monument on July 4, 1848.


The Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Pius the Ninth gave a piece of marble from Rome for the monument. But the stone was stolen a few years later. People suspected that an American group called the Know Nothings stole the stone. Among other things, the group opposed the Roman Catholic Church.


After that, the public almost stopped giving money for the structure. Many people believed it never would be finished. Then Congress started to help pay for the monument. But, again, the Know Nothings intervened. They raided the Washington National Monument Society office. They claimed the monument was their property.


Finally, in 1876, Congress voted to pay for building the Washington Monument. On December 6, 1886, the monument was finished. It opened to the public four years later.


The Washington Monument is just one of many ways Americans have honored their first president. The northwest state of Washington is named for him. So are many cities, schools and streets in the United States. Thousands of children have been named George or Washington.


George Washington was born in 1732. His family lived in Westmoreland County, Virginia. George attended school for only about seven or eight years. He wanted to become a sailor. However, his mother would not permit this. So George became an explorer. At age twenty he became an officer in the colonial army.


In 1753, the colonies still belonged to Britain. Major George Washington carried a message from British colonial officials to French forces. At the time, French

forces occupied the Ohio River Valley. The message ordered them to withdraw. It was a dangerous duty, and George Washington completed it well.


George Washington continued to gain responsibility in the army. However, as time passed, he became angry with the way England governed the American colonies. Taxes were high. And the colonies had no representation in the British Parliament.


The war against Britain began in 1775. The Americans named George

Washington commander of the Revolutionary armies.


Many of his soldiers were untrained. They were poorly equipped. During one winter of the Revolutionary War, his troops almost froze to death. But General Washington led these Americans to victory. The last British troops left America in 1783.


After the war, George Washington strongly influenced the writing of the new Constitution. Then, in 1789, the first American Electoral College met. It named him the first president of the United States. Three years later, he wanted to retire. He planned to live with his wife Martha at their home in Virginia, Mount Vernon. But others appealed to him to run for president again. The ballots were counted in 1893, and he was re-elected.


George Washington gave the nation a good start. He helped prevent the country from becoming a dictatorship. He prevented it from being ruled by a king. He helped establish freedom of religion.


George Washington was not perfect. He kept slaves at Mount Vernon. However, he freed all his slaves during his lifetime. He also urged the nation to end slavery in the future.


A sentence written on the wall in the Washington Monument expresses the way many Americans feel about George Washington. It says he was first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.




Decide whether these statements are TRUE or FALSE

1. As president, G. Washington helped the new United States of America through its difficult first years.


2. The Washington Monument is the only way Americans have honored their first president.


3. George Washington wanted to be an explorer, so he went to college.


4. At age twenty he became an officer in the British army.


5. The Revolutionary armies he led were well-trained and well-equipped.

6. The Americans won the Independence war mainly due to G. Washington.


7. G. Washington influenced the most important spheres of American way of life.




1) Match the beginning of the phrases with their endings to make expressions from the text










to somebody




through difficult years




for the president




money for a memorial




visitors to the observation area




representation in parliament




money for the statue



2) Fill in the gaps with the correct article to complete each sentence


After 1)


war, 2)


George Washington strongly influenced 3)

writing of 4)

new Constitution. Then, in 1789, 5)

first American Electoral

College met. It named him 6)

first president of 7)

United States. Three years

later, he wanted to retire. He planned to live with his wife Martha at their home in 8)

Virginia, 9)

president again. 11)

Mount Vernon. But others appealed to him to run for 10)

ballots were counted in 1893, and he was re-elected.



George Washington gave 13)

nation 14)

good start. He helped

prevent 15)

country from becoming 16)

dictatorship. He prevented it from

being ruled by 17)


king. He helped establish 18)

freedom of 19)




1. Work with a partner and decide on the equally important personality in the history of our country.


2. Prepare a presentation about him/her.




| |