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Remembering George Washington's Heroism

By Ms. Watson

Teacher of Grades 2-3

Nearly 250 years ago, during the long winter of 1777-78, the Patriot army was camped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. When they trudged in, they were suffering from cold and hunger, and so, battle-weary, they were ready to quit. The Americans had arrived at Valley Forge with perhaps 12,000 men.

By the time the snows of winter melted, only 8,000 remained. Some called this time the darkest of the war. The wind bit hard. Soldiers tied rags on their feet. Red footprints marked the snow. Valley Forge was not a battlefield, yet thousands of soldiers died there. While many of the officers went home, Washington stayed and shared the hardships suffered by his men. His presence kept the army together.

Tradition holds that one cold day in January a Quaker farmer who lived nearby was walking through the woods when he saw a riderless horse tied to a sapling. As he came nearer, he saw through the trees a lone man on his knees in the snow. It was General Washington. Tears marked his face as he bowed his head and asked God to look after his men. At home that evening, the farmer told his wife of the encounter. "All will be well, Martha." He said. If there is anyone the Lord will listen to, it is this brave man. I have seen General Washington on his knees. Our independence is certain."

A forge is a fiery furnace where metal is tested, heated, and hammered in order to be shaped by its maker, the blacksmith. Valley Forge would become the turning point of the war that would eventually bring about their victory. When Washington's army left there, six months later, their metal had been tested. They had been forged together into a united fighting force capable of defeating the British. United. Strong. Determined. Hopeful.

Today, in a quiet grove at Valley Forge, there is a heroic-sized monument to George Washington. He is not sitting astride a charging horse or overlooking a battlefield of glory, but kneeling in humble prayer, calling upon the God of Heaven for divine help.

(Taken from "The Patriot's Almanac" by William Bennett* and "Valley Forge" by Carl Sandburg) _____________________

This historical thought was delivered by students in second and third grade at devotional on 1/26/23. Each week one class leads the student body in prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, scripture recitation, a meditation, and an historical thought. Family and friends are welcome, Thursdays 8:30-9:05 am.

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