The Greene County Commission partnered with the Sons of the American Revolution Friday to honor the county’s namesake.
The small ceremony in front of the historic courthouse honored Nathanael Greene on what would be his 278th birthday. Greene was called the “greatest military genius of the war” by George Washington and is largely credited for the success of the Revolutionary Army’s victory over the British in the Southern Campaign.
Greene County, Missouri is one of 17 counties in the United States that have been definitively named after the Civil War general. (A county in Virginia named Greensville County names Greene as one of several possible sources for the County’s name.)
“Nathanael Greene has great significance in saving the American Revolution,” Howard Fisk of the Sons of the American Revolution told OI. “He was really responsible for the success of Washington and his generals winning the American Revolution. He was the quartermaster who saved the troops from starving at Valley Forge. He arranged for food, he arranged for clothing, everything they needed to be saved at Valley Forge.”
Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch told OI it was important for the county to hold events like a memorial for Greene’s birthday, as remembering America’s history is a key toward understanding its future.
“If we don’t remember [history], what will our children know?” Bengsch said. “That’s my concern right there. It’s got to be passed on. It’s too important.”
The ceremony also honored recipients of the Purple Heart. The award was originally given in 1782 by General George Washington to mark meritorious service and bravery in combat. In World War II, the medal was changed to recognize combat injuries and death.