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Philadelphia News: Winds Prevent Washington from crossing Delaware
in both of their holiday messages, President Bush and President Obama recalled back 200 something years ago when the patriots were losing the war, and General Washington led his troops across the Delaware River on Christmas night, surprised the Hessians and turned the war back into our favor. without that act, America may not even exist today, Obama said “they faced impossible odds” and Bush said “Washington’s legacy lives on our troops serving in Iraq, etc”. throw in some more about fighting for freedom, protecting American ideals, an act of courage – during this political/economic/military climate, washington crossing the delaware seems to be one of the most patriotic things you can do for your country. even before it was a country.
i live in washington crossing, pa. the decision to cross the delaware at night and surprise the hessians was so pivotal and important, it has a ‘town’ named after it. there’s debate about whether it’s ‘washington crossing’, or ‘washington’s crossing’ – it takes up more ink when filling out paperwork. but every christmas around noon, revolutionary war reenactors gather in period garb, along with wooden rowboats. general washington does a grand speech, there are drums and horns, and his men step into the boat and they row the 50 feet across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. EXCEPT many years they do not make it across, due to snow, windy wind conditions, bitter cold, ice in the water – a number of reasons. and while it’s usually meant in good spirits, hecklers from the crowd will yell “did george washington not cross b/c it was too cold?!?”, “not crossing the river is not what won the revolutionary war!”, “without crossing, america wouldn’t exist!”. haha, it’s the only source of drama this town gets. last year, they barely crossed. the year before that they tried to cross, but got caught in a wind current and the river patrol had to catch their boats. and this year, even with bush and obama drawing attention to the event, they did not cross but walked over the bridge, instead. at least they tried. it could be argued that’s pretty american, in itself. or not american at all.