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American History
What is Freedom Worth?

January 4, 2016

The disastrous defeat at Brooklyn Heights began the difficult American retreat toward Pennsylvania, Washington escaping on the last boat.  Over the next few months, the tattered army found safety along the Delaware’s west banks.
 
When the weather turned bitterly cold, General Howe decided to move his troops east, leaving a few, scattered outposts along the Delaware river.  By December 24th, a desperate Washington finalized plans to attack Trenton.  On Christmas morning the weather took a turn for the worse -- cold, windy, and heavy rain.  The Army moved around 2:00 p.m. Washington crossed first.  Ice covered the already swollen river.   The storm intensified. The anticipated “easy crossing” took thirteen hours.

The British remained on high alert.  By sunrise, Washington hadn’t reached Trenton, spoiling hopes for surprise.  Miraculously another storm commenced, so strong that the British advance sentries retreated inside leaving the advancing American army’s approach hidden.

American General Knox later wrote, “The storm continued with great violence, but was in our backs, and consequently in the faces of the enemy.”  In a remarkable forty-five minutes, the Americans killed twenty-one Hessians, wounding ninety more and capturing nine hundred. Godly providence with weather altered the outcome. 

Washington badly needed to finish by capturing other outposts.  But he had a problem;  many of his troops enlistments were expiring.  Washington addressed them pleading for extensions.  None stepped forward.  In a moment of inspiration, he turned his horse speaking, “My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected, but your country is at stake...  You have worn yourselves out, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay… you will render that service to the cause of liberty, and to your country, which you can probably never do under any other circumstance.” One by one, they stepped forward.  General Greene later wrote, “God Almighty, inclined their hearts to listen.. and they engaged anew.”

A few days later the Battle of Princeton commenced.  During the beginning, General Mercer -- sent by Washington -- found himself surrounded.  From a distance, Washington observing the dire circumstances immediately rode fast into battle encouraging his troops.  When the British saw an American Officer on horseback all turned and fired upon him. The dust cleared with Washington still sitting on his horse, unscathed.  A witness wrote, “I shall never forget what I felt… when I saw him brave all the dangers of the field and his important life hanging as it were by a single hair with a thousand deaths flying around him.”

Leaders lead from in front and care deeply for those who serve with them.  In our history, even our recent history, Presidents and former Presidents have unceremoniously chosen to visit wounded warriors and their families with much tender care and genuine concern. 

With 2016 being a Presidential election year, we need a Commander-in-Chief who is engaged, who leads from the front, and who cares for freedom and those who serve to protect it.

Mark, Bill, and John

 

 

 

 

 

 


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