The price of freedom for this country has always been dear. There was a time when our Army was in retreat in the dead of winter. The path they took was well-defined by the bloody footprints in the snow. It was an army shabbily dressed, half-clad, nearly naked with tattered blankets for warmth. Their shoes were so worn down, many wrapped rags around their feet. When they reached their winter quarters it was just an easily defendable space of land with no shelter to protect them from weather, no extra food, and no medical supplies. The year was 1777. Valley Forge was 18 miles from Philadelphia, where the British Army was stationed. The army in retreat was the Continental Army, led by General George Washington. While the British Army was having a grand time in Philadelphia attending banquets, parties, the theater and balls, the soldiers at Valley Forge were struggling to survive. Though half starving and poorly dressed, the men spent six weeks building crude cabins for the 12,000 men. Food was in short supply, and many times the soldiers were forced to eat tasteless “fire cake” – a mixture of flour and water. With lack of proper shelter, food and sanitation, diseases like typhoid, jaundice, dysentery and pneumonia was the scourge of Valley Forge. Why did they stay at such a forsaken place? They were common men united with a burning desire for freedom. That burning desire for freedom, which led them to victory and the creation of the United States of America, is still evident in the soldiers of today’s Armed Forces. The strong and the brave still exist and fight in remote outposts throughout the world. As with the soldiers of old, the conditions may be crude and uncomfortable, but their desire for freedom enables them to fight on. The next time you see a soldier, shake their hand and thank them for their service. Let them know how proud we are of their achievements and their willingness to defend our country and our freedoms.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.