Burris performs 114th annual reading of Washington's Farewell Address

One of the Senate's longest-standing traditions was carried out on Monday by Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.).

Burris became the 114th member of the upper chamber to perform the annual Feb. 22 reading of George Washington's Farewell Address to Congress, a tradition which began during the Civil War and has continued uninterrupted since 1896.

The 7,641-word statement usually takes about 45 minutes to read out loud, although Florida Sen. Paula Hawkins (D) got through it in 39 minutes in 1985, setting the record for brevity.

The address warns against the threat of partisanship, and urges people to put national interest ahead of personal jealousies.

At the end of his reading, Burris signed the black, leather-bound book traditionally signed by the reader of the address, which is maintained by the Secretary of the Senate.

Last year's address was read by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).