George Washington played a vital role in the founding of the United States. He was commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution, and served as the first president. To honor Washington for his contributions, in the 1840s construction began on a monument in his honor—a stone obelisk that rises more than 550 feet in the sky above the capital. It took nearly 40 years before the monument was completed. Each year, millions of people visit the Washington Monument, which represents the achievements of George Washington, and the gratitude that Americans feel toward the "Father of our Country."