James Madison's 254th Birthday

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

March 16, 2005

Clyde Gallop continued a two decade family tradition of placing flowers on the grave of James Madison on his birthday.

Gallop is Madison's eighth great nephew. He said today's celebration is not just his great uncle's birthday.

"It's a combination of a birthday and a combination of where everyone should be grateful for what he stood for," said Gallop.

"James Madison had a calling," said Hunter Rawlings, III, of Montpelier.
That calling led him to become the fourth President of the United States and one of the author's of the Constitution and the First Amendment.

"Forty years of public service is what James Madison dedicated to this country to ensure that the principals that he upheld would be upheld by the country as a whole" added Rawlings.

Today in honor of his work, visitors came to celebrate the birth of the two termed president.

"The President of the United States has directed that a Presidential wreath be laid at the resting place of all former U.S. presidents on the anniversary of their birth," said a member of the United States Marine Corps.

The president wasn't the only one to donate a wreath to be placed in front of Madison's grave, about two dozen others placed wreaths at the grave site in his honor as well.

"Were bringing it in to really honor his memory and honor what he's done," said Charles Shielheimer, Jr., who donated a wreath.

Gallop's family remembers Madison the same way. "He was a quiet person, he could be able to use his talent in a writing sort of way to help inspire others," said Gallop.

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