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The crossing: Dec. 26, 1776 *

Imagine how it was. Bitter cold, night on the river and (so we are told) a bold erratic wind blowing blinding snow . . . Washington and his men prepare to go through it to Trenton, and there rearrange certain ideas of freedom. Wild and strange in that darkness their task must have seemed! Something that an explorer must have dreamed setting out from Palos for a world yet undiscovered! A flag would be unfurled from this, sometime, above a nation new with independence; but the work to do was hard at Christmastime, when the elegance of festive table, family, and the dance must be left behind! These men knew only that crossing the Delaware was bleak and lonely and risking all required great expectations for faith fulfilled and future celebrations.

* The exact date varies with historians: some say

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Christmas night, some say the 20th.

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