Submitted by: MCB Quantico
Story Identification Number: 200432617290
Story by Lance Cpl. Christopher Roberts

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(March 25, 2004) -- Representing the President, George W. Bush, the Quantico base commander, Col. James M. Lowe, presented the president's wreath during a ceremony commemorating the 253rd anniversary of James Madison's birth March 16.

Even with the cold, rainy weather, more than 150 people came to Madison's Montpelier gravesite to show their respect during the annual ceremony commemorating the birth and accomplishments of the fourth U.S. president.

"It was a great honor to have the Marine Corps here representing the president, and conveying their pride in the foundations of our nation's rich history," said Michael C. Quinn, president of The Montpelier Foundation, which coordinated the ceremony. "The Marines have always conducted this ceremony in a very dignified, very meaningful way and their invaluable services are always appreciated."

"Many of today's Marines do not realize it, but much of the Corps' early history is directly tied to James Madison when he served as secretary of state and later as president," said Lowe. "For example, it was James Madison's influence and recommendation that we confront the Barbary Pirates, later leading to the words 'to the shores of Tripoli' in our hymn. This was the same time period where Marine officers first acquired our Mameluke sword, and where Marines first raised the Stars and Stripes on foreign soil following victory in battle."

According to Madison's biography, he is often times hailed as the, 'Father of our Constitution,' because he, according to history, had more to do with its conception than any other man.

"James Madison is best known for being the Father of the Bill of Rights and of our Constitution, but he was much more," said Lowe. "James Madison was a visionary and faithful friend to the Marine Corps. He realized our potential as a military service and realized the vital role we would play as 'soldiers of the sea' in defense of our nation."

Madison was born in Port Conway, Va., in 1751 and was the oldest of 12 children. He entered the College of New Jersey, now Princeton, in 1769, graduating with a four-year degree in only two years. He then studied theology, history and law, both at the college and on his own. His public career began in 1774 when he was appointed a member of the King George County Committee for Public Safety in Virginia at the age of 23. Madison spent the rest of his life in service to his nation, according to biography.

In 1776, Madison was a member of the Virginia constitutional committee, a body that drafted Virginia's first constitution and the Bill of Rights, which later became a model for the Bill of Rights amended to the U.S. Constitution. Madison actively supported religious toleration was a leading advocate for the separation of church state.

The Montpelier Foundation, steward of the Madison estate, is currently conducting the complete restoration of the Montpelier mansion, said Quinn. With full restoration, the mansion will be returned in size, structure, form and furnishings to the home that James Madison knew.

For more information about the Montpelier Foundation, call (540) 672-2728, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www