“We have this day no less than 2,873 men in a camp unfit for duty because they are barefooted and otherwise naked …” Those were George Washington’s words two days before Christmas,1777 at Valley Forge. It isn’t the first time I have thought about this statement and the condition of the troops that bitter winter in Valley Forge. No matter what kind of holiday you are having, somehow this puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?
Not to leave the women out, President Calvin Coolidge reported to the Daughters of the American Revolution, “We have been told of the unselfish devotion of the women who gave their own warm garments to fashion clothing for the suffering Continental Army during that bitter winter at Valley Forge. The burdens of the war were not all borne by men.”
What comes to mind is that often repeated sports phrase, “The one who wants it the most, wins.” Such grit and determination is our heritage. We wanted to become a nation conceived in liberty so badly that we did everything with practically nothing to win.
Freedom, grit, and determination are in our DNA, but so is prayer. You know that picture of George Washington kneeling in the snow to pray by artist Arnold Friberg? Washington looked to God for the support that Christmas in 1777 at Valley Forge. Americans fight to win when their cause is just. We have found strength in our efforts as Americans have sought God’s guidance and wisdom. Our national anthem, fourth verse, declares:
“Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
How do we apply this to a quest for Common Sense Civics and Citizenship?
-We learn our true heritage and reject false versions.
-We pass on our heritage to our posterity.
-We take time to educate ourselves in matters of civics and behave with civility.
-We remain vigilant in the cause of freedom.
What steps can you take as we approach a new year with the promise of new challenges? Remember Valley Forge.