And let’s not forget that unforeseen, wonderful –even miraculous — things can happen.
In August of 1776 George Washington engaged General Howe’s troops in New York. One British officer reported that “…it was a fine sight to see with what alacrity [we] dispatched the rebels with their bayonets….You know all stratagems are lawful in war, especially against such vile enemies to their King and country.”
Watching with a telescope from a hill as a regiment fought its way back to the American lines against terrible odds, General Washington was heard to say, “Good God! What brave fellows I must this day lose!”
Fortunately, for a combination of reasons General Howe decided to wait two days before pressing his final attack .
On the last day, a providential — some say a miraculous — natural occurrence joined to human courage, imagination and bravery took place.
Washington wanted to remove his troops from New York but it was not feasible. Then a wind unfavorable to the British eliminated their ability to cut off escape by the Americans. A few days later there was another storm with a strong, drenching rain that continued overnight. Suddenly, before morning, what was described as a “peculiar providential” fog set in.
Throughout that dark, rainy night, working under cover of rain and that “peculiar providential fog” Washington removed EVERY SINGLE MAN across the river to safety. Some 9,000 to 10,000 troops and their equipment moved in stillness and quiet across the water overnight. They were aided by every conceivable small boat available, manned mostly by Massachusetts fishermen. When the fog lifted, the British, and General Howe, were stunned to see that the Americans had vanished. It was an incalculable setback to the British — and a daring, courageous feat led by General Washington.
Indeed, an observer reported that “There never was a man that behaved better upon the occasion than General George Washington; he was on horseback the whole night, and never left the ferry stairs ’til he had seen the whole of his troops embarked.”
Our Founders endured a great deal on our behalves. And remember: not only did they have no idea how the story would end, they worked at the risk of death: their actions against the British Empire was considered treasonous.
So as we face and confront this current, bitter setback, let us all recall: We’ve experienced terrible setbacks in the past. Let’s each of us do what we can best do to fight. I, for one, will continue calling, e-mailing — and praying.
We have been our Founders’ beneficiaries. Let’s do our part to show — and prove! — that we deserve our Founders’ efforts on our behalves.