by Stan Crader
My goal in writing is to cause readers to think beyond the story. I try to achieve two completely separate goals. First I want the reader to relate to the story and for the characters to remind them of someone in their life. And second, I include as a part of the story something historically significant. My hope is the reader will research the authenticity of something I’ve woven into the novel and thereby learn an important but little known piece of American history. The following is a piece of our history I came across in my search for something provocative and no longer well known, but exponentially important.
April 30, 1789. Newly inaugurated President George Washington gave a prophetic warning at Federal Hall in New York City. He declared that America’s prosperity and protection were dependent upon its adherence to God. Later, the political leaders of the young nation gathered at St. Paul’s Chapel to commit the nation’s future to God’s purposes. That chapel is located at Ground Zero and miraculously survived 9/11 virtually unscathed.
The following are three sentences taken from Washington’s first inaugural address. In these three sentences Washington clearly testifies to his belief in God and God’s providence over America. What Washington describes as a providential agency would later be called America’s hedge of protection. Clearly that invisible protective hand was present during America’s struggle for independence and later, at least for St. Paul’s Chapel, on that fateful day known now as 9/11.
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage.
Anyone who has studied American history and particularly George Washington must surely acknowledge that America’s independence was attributed to the guiding hand of God by those who were there when our fight for liberty occurred. And subsequent to America’s independence, the elements of the constitution were debated and established by 52 Christians and one deist during deliberations in which the deist suggested and all others agreed should begin with supplicant prayer.
America’s declaration of independence was written by men of vision. The war of independence was fought by an Army that was outnumbered, underpaid, and untrained, but bursting with zeal and belief in their leader, General George Washington. Washington set a prayerful example and insisted on chaplains being available throughout the war and prayer was encouraged.
With victory in hand, George Washington rushed the end of war proceedings, bid his troops farewell at Fraunces Tavern in New York city, and resigned his position as leader of the revolutionary army so that he could make it home in time for Christmas 1783. Upon his arrival at Mt. Vernon it’s my supposition that he used the greeting Merry Christmas.
If it was good enough for George Washington then it’s good enough for me–Merry Christmas.
Stan Crader was born and raised in Bollinger County Missouri. Coming of age in rural Missouri provided him the material for many of the rich characters in his books. He credits the variety of jobs and the people with which he has worked for providing him his creative foundation.