Here Comes The General
A crucial moment in our fight for Independence when America was on the ropes and came back swinging.
SmartHER News sits down with Clay Craighead, historian at the Washington Crossing State Park, for a story that will send chills down your spine and make you appreciate America in a whole new way.
A note from our founder, Jenna Lee Babin, adapted from the SmartHER Podcast.
Happy July 4th!
And a very happy anniversary to my husband, Leif Babin. We married July 4th weekend, 2011. I think back to that time now and shake my head. I had no idea I”d be living down the road from where we walked down the aisle right outside of Austin Texas. It”s funny the twists and turns of life, isn”t it? History teaches us that as well.
Just the other day, I visited a cute little local store.A I got kicked out of the coffee shop across the street because of shorter summer hours, so I thought “what the heck?” and went into the store, simply for research purposes. I walked out with two very cool wooden signs.
They have the same driftwood color frame and beige weathered background. But one square reads in very clear typewriter font: Land of the free. The other reads: Home of the brave.
And when I saw them, I had to have them. I just loved seeing those two sentences in isolation.
Land of the free.
Home of the brave.
I read those sentences and thinka|”YES. That”s right! That”s a fact.”
But its interesting to think about another fact – that neither expression existed for some of the most important people who made that fact a reality. The Star Spangle Banner didn’t exist untilA the war of 1812, years after the end of the Revolutionary War.
And this makes me think back on something I heard the famous historian David McCullough talk about and that”s perspective – remembering the perspective of the individuals at the time and place in history.A I”ll explain.
I made a trip to a special historic landmark a few weeks ago.
A place where timing and weather and luck and perservance all converged on a snowy, windswept frigid night more than 200 years ago.
It was that night, Christmas 1776, when the idea of celebrating America”s independence in the heat of summer would seem absolutelya|totallya|insane. Ridiculous, in fact.
That night, General George Washington led a group of men across the Delaware and into history.
You might remember reading something about Washington”s Crossing of the Delaware but I know I needed a refresher.
We remember the American Revolution from a point of pride. Thats because we know what happened. We know we won. We know we are free. But divorce yourself from that thought for a moment.
Those men (and women), fighting so many years ago, did not have the benefit of knowing the future. That”s what David McCullough pointed out. They knew they faced potential death, starvation, imprisonment. They didn’t think of fireworks and hotdogs and beach vacations. They didn’t know how great they would be. They just kept on going into the unknown with an idea and it worked.
They were so brave.
The American Revolutionary War lasted 7 yearsa|.7 years. Every time I read that fact, I thinka|”Really?” Yes. 7 years. We tend to think of it as shorter but a lot happened in those years – many people died and many doubts raised in the founding of our great nation.
And by a simple twist of fate or luck or divine intervention, America didn’t lose. But we had a few very near misses. And that”s why Washington”s Crossing marks a pivotal moment in all of our stories because it changed the momentum.
Listen to the story of told by Clay Craighead, marvelous historian, at Washington Crossing State Park. I had to go there in person. I had to stand on the ground. In a day, when electronic records can vanish, it”s important to stand where history happened. We recorded this interview in Clay”s office where he”s worked for 30 years. You”ll hear a little bit of the working office in the background – I apologize for that, but its sitting in someone”s office, where they”re comfortable, that you get the best perspective and the most passion – you”ll hear that in Clay’s voice. There”s a moment in our conversation where Clay mentions bloody footprints in the snow, an image I”ll never forget, especially this July 4tha|in the land of the free. And the homea|of the brave.
Here’s the link to the podcast:
Happy Independence Day,
With love from SmartHER News,
by Jenna Lee,