Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bulletproof George

Bulletproof George

George Washington was a young Lieutenant during the French and Indian war. At one point, his regiment fought a two hour battle with the Indians in a field in Pennsylvania. They were wearing the British red coats at that time and the soldiers lined up shoulder to shoulder with their muskets, and began marching toward the Indians in the typical battle form of the day. All the officers, including Lt. Washington, were on horseback. The Indians began shooting and aimed for the officers first.

When Washington's horse was shot beneath him, he got on another horse and continued the fight. The second horse was shot beneath him as well. Still, he remained. The ground all around was covered with dead soldiers and all the other officers were killed. Washington stood alone, his red coat daring them to shoot him.

Finally the Indian Chief commanded his warriors to stop firing. “This one is under special protection of the Great Spirit.” He said.

One Warrior said, “I had seventeen clear shots at this man… and I could not bring him to the ground. This man was not born to be killed by a bullet.”

When the fighting was over, Washington looked down at his coat. There were four holes in the cloth. He pulled it off and examined the skin underneath the bullet holes. There was not a single scratch on his skin.

In 1775, fifteen years later, Washington was chosen to be the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. It didn’t seem right to accept a salary from an army that barely could feed its soldiers, so he declined their generous offer of pay. Before his commission began, he went to the field where he'd fought with the Indians.

The Chief who he’d fought against, came to pay his respects. He said, “I am a chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far Blue Mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man's blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, ‘mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe--he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do—he himself is alone and exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.’ Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss. Twas all in vain. A power mightier far than we, shielded you. Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you. I am old and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man.” He pointed toward Washington, “and guides his destinies--he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”

George Washington stood a head taller than most men and was a formidable figure in his uniform and epaulettes. His demeanor and stature gave him an instant air of authority, though he was a humble man.

If you'd like to learn more about the father of our country, I recommend reading 1776, by David McCullough.