NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A rededication ceremony was held at the statue of the nation’s first president Monday, on what used to be a holiday marking the evacuation of the last British troops in the U.S. following the Revolutionary War.
As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, for more than a century, Evacuation Day was celebrated each Nov. 25, marking the day British troops left New York City through the Battery in 1783. It was one of the city’s biggest holidays.
“Businesses were closed, you had parades,” National Park Ranger Michael Callahan told Silverman. “It compares to St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, something along those lines.”
The annual celebration was dropped once relations between the U.S. and Britain strengthened.
“World War I came along, Britain was our ally,” said Callahan.
When Gen. George Washington marched his troops back into New York on this date 230 years ago, he found it mostly empty, Silverman reported.
Some donning red coats played the fife and drum at a rededication of the statue of George Washington on the spot where he was sworn in as president nearly five years later, at Federal Hall on Wall Street.
“The statue has been completely rehabilitated,” said Callahan.
The statue was erected on the centennial of Evacuation Day.
The Revolutionary War ended in Sept. 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, but it took British troops two more months to fully evacuate from what’s now America.
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