If I were to say to you today that war is on the horizon,
you’d probably give me a strange look and think, "Well, every one
It was the same in the 1700's, in the days before the
Revolutionary War. But when the words, "Attack! Attack!" rang
out through the colonies, when death visited Lexington, and Concord was
attacked-and repulsed; that changed everything. "War!" took on
new meaning. "To arms!" brought reality to the hearts of the
colonists. Reality and dread. But did that stop them from forging ahead?
No! their liberties were at stake and they went to war as all valiant men
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With Gen. George Washington at their head the ill-prepared
thirteen colonies fought-and lost for nearly three years. Then came that
cruel winter at Valley Forge. The poet and the chronologist write of that
the mighty wind doth blow,
the earth lies neath the snow,
the old earth’s heart beats slow-
so very slow.
with blood the Redcoat’s glow;
Death and defeat are near, we know....
But the darkest hour of
is just before the day. In the middle of February
Washington described the dreadful situation of the army and "the
miserable prospects before it" as more alarming" than can
possibly be conceived, and as occasioning him more distress "than he
had felt" since the commencement of the war. On the 23rd of February,
he whom we call Baron Von Steuben, rode into camp.
with a picked company of one hundred and twenty men, the Baron drilled
them carefully, himself on foot and musket in hand. These, when they
became proficient, he made a model for others, and presently the whole
camp had become a military school.
And thus day after day, patient, careful, laborious, and
persevering, in a few months he transformed this untrained yeomanry into a
disciplined and effective army. There have been more brilliant services
rendered to America than these, but few perhaps more valuable and worthier
The army was rewarded with the news that on the 6th Franklin
had signed the Treaty of Alliance at Versailles. Versailles would
be noted for another, and more celebrated event a few years later. Do you
know what that event was?
Kneel you while the war's at stake?
Don't you know we bend, we break?
(Still the general bows within the
Knowing well the war’s at stake,
Knowing that defeat will take
Liberty-and hope unmake.
And still he prays-for Jesus’ sake.)
The woods are full of Redcoats
And the town’s full of the same,
And there’s Tories sitting easy
Playing out the waiting game.
They’ve betrayed the name of Freedom
To their everlasting shame.
Wealth and power are with the foe;
With the Yankees, cold and snow-
Cold and hunger, winds that blow-
Icy winds-and Freedom’s glow.
Now the general marches on
For his praying time is done,
And the battle has been won-
praying Washington. ©der’93
On February 20, 1783, the Peace Articles ending the
Revolutionary War were signed at Versailles and the Independence of the
United States of America was recognized by several European nations.
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