For the 26th year, more than 200 Mount Vernon residents gathered at the Mount Vernon Estate Circle for a Community Easter Sunrise Service hosted by the Mount Vernon Rotary Club in cooperation with the National Park Service, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and the Fairfax County Department of Recreation. Also on hand to help out were the Boy Scouts from Troop 993.
Elmer Holst, president of the Mount Vernon Rotary Club, welcomed the visiting community to the service. And as the sun rose, the Rev. Theodore E. White, assistant pastor, Saint Paul's Ephesians Community Church, and chaplain at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, delivered the message, a challenge to faith.
All joined in The Lord's Prayer, and in closing, the familiar words of "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today" drifted over the congregation and toward the flowering dogwood trees and brilliant yellow daffodils dotting the landscape around the Circle.
After the service, the Boy Scouts placed the podium flowers inside the tomb of George and Martha Washington.
"It is a beautiful place," said Mayo and Martha Rocha, first-time visitors to Mount Vernon. Betty Hendley has been going to the sunrise service at Mount Vernon since the mid-’70s. But her memories have been poignant since 1983. Her mother died that year, and Mount Vernon has been one of her favorite places to visit.