A visitor to Mount Vernon last month views a hologram of George Washington outside of the education center and museum. The installation appears to turn its gaze to passersby. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Visitors explore the grounds of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s historic home, last month in Virginia. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

The coat of arms carved into the old tombstone in the Washington family cemetery is stained green with age. The three stars on the shield are worn down, and the wings of the raven rising from the crown are mottled.

But the ancient Washington motto, Exitus Acta Probat ⁠ — “The Outcome Justifies the Deed” ⁠ — is still discernible.

Although George Washington is buried at Mount Vernon, many miles up the Potomac River, it was near this remote spot on Popes Creek where he was born in 1732. Here, his forebears rest. And to this place, the impact of his life on his country and the world may be traced.

Washington’s mark is everywhere, it seems, and nowhere is this more evident than in his native Virginia and the city that bears his name.

As the birthday of the nation he helped found approaches, Washington Post photographer Matt McClain sought out some of the locales where Washington’s deeds, and their outcomes, are cherished and celebrated.


The family burial ground at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Va. The first president of the United States was born on this property in 1732. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

The sky darkens over the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

A server in period dress at the annual George Washington Birthnight Supper and Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum on Feb. 16 in Alexandria, Va. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

George Washington paraphernalia is seen in the windows of a house in Alexandria. A plaque states that the property was later passed on to Martha Washington upon his death. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

A mural of a young George Washington near Main Street in Culpeper, Va. The mural pays tribute to Washington’s role in surveying Culpeper County. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Steve Custer takes a tour of a farm near Williamsburg, Va., where the busts of 43 former U.S. presidents are located. The statues were once part of an attraction called Presidents Park. After the park closed, they were moved to their current location. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Brian Hilton portrays George Washington during the annual George Washington Birthday Parade on Feb. 18 in Alexandria. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

George Washington impersonator Dean Malissa, center, attends the George Washington Birthnight Supper and Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern in February. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Shea Kennedy, 9, looks out the window of a replica of the house George Washington grew up in at Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg, Va. The current structure is built over the original foundation. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Molly Weaver of Benicia, Calif., takes in a portion of a tent that was part of Washington’s command headquarters during the Revolutionary War at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center. The Battle of Yorktown was a decisive victory for the allied American and French army led by Washington against the British. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Surrender Field at the Yorktown Battlefield last month in Yorktown. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Nathan Schultz fires a type of musket that would have been used during the Revolutionary War at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown last month. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Visitors to the Lincoln Memorial hold tight to their umbrellas during a thunderstorm last month in the District of Columbia. The Washington Monument, seen in the background, was built to honor the country’s first president and was dedicated in 1885. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

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