Founder's Day Celebrations held at Monticello, UVA - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Founder's Day Celebrations held at Monticello, UVA

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Jim Webb speaks at Monticello Jim Webb speaks at Monticello

People who went to Monticello Friday got to enjoy a patriotic ceremony to honor one of our founding fathers. Hundreds came together to celebrate Thomas Jefferson's 271st birthday.

Monticello works with the University of Virginia every year to reflect on how America's third president was pivotal in changing our country. Jefferson's birthday is not actually until Sunday, but Monticello wanted to pay tribute to his accomplishments.

“Jefferson didn't believe in celebrating his own birthday; he favored the great anniversary of our republic instead, but the secret got out,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

Former United States Senator Jim Webb served as the keynote speaker for this year's Founder's Day. As the 2014 Thomas Jefferson Foundation medalist in citizen leadership, he posed what he calls a fair but hard question to the crowd.

“Are we doing any better now in our society of living to true fairness and equality even as some people criticize some of the things that Thomas Jefferson did?” Webb said.

Webb says it is important to commemorate Jefferson's work towards equality and freedom, but realize there is still a lot of work to be done.

“Our country is in a crisis and it's in a crisis of fairness and it's causing a lot of people to become completely disenchanted with our governmental leaders and it's real. It's real in economic terms and it's real in a lot of other ways,” Webb said.

As the ceremony wrapped up with community leaders presenting a row of wreaths, Webb says progress can be made with the willingness for change.

“I think we need to keep talking about it and having the courage to talk about it as it exists,” Webb said.

“I think it's a great reminder that the Declaration of Independence was not just our birth certificate but our vision statement,” Bowman said.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation medals in architecture and law were presented at the UVA Rotunda Friday afternoon.

Student research will also be showcased at open-grounds as part of founder's day starting at 6 p.m.

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