Poems About America

General Washington Addressing the Troops

For some time now, my friends,
I have wanted to share with you
    the understanding that has come to me
    about the war that we are fighting with the British.
This war did not begin with the sallying forth
    of the first shots from the muskets of the British.
Nor will it be won by the triumph of will, vigor,
    and persistent courage by those
    who have less support to back them,
    but a mightier force of destiny.
No, this war will only be won when all nations
    who seek to conquer, or who hold sway over
    the rights of others to exist in freedom, shall perish,
And when all nations discover that the one true interest
    that holds them together is a common one -
    an interest that lies in the freedom
    and self-determination of each.

You, who have been fighting so valiantly during this battle
    for which so many have given their lives,
    need know that after victory is won and this fight is over,
    there will come a time of peace and of
    being able to retreat to our homes and farms
    to enjoy the fruits of liberty.
But after this time shall come another time of war,
    and another time of travail for this nation that we are
    so courageously building.
For the time has not yet come when all men
    can lay down their arms and proceed through life as brothers.
This will be, some day, in the scheme of Divine Providence,
    but it is not now, and it is not within the foreseeable future.
Therefore, what we do here today, what we give here today,
    we do and give in order to stave off the destruction
    that would be brought about by forces seeking to dismantle
    our present social structure and free government.
We cannot allow this to happen.
    for we, as a free people, must defend our right to exist as such.
We must not allow tyranny to prevail or the fear of reprisals
    to dissuade us from our calling.

Nevertheless, this war, when it ends, will not end war.
It will be one in a series of other wars
    that this nation-to-be will fight.
Yet in the end, after much travail and much pain and suffering,
    this nation shall finally be free to live in peace,
    and shall be a representative of peace
    to a world that is tired of war
    that has come, finally, to a place of being able to live in harmony.
May that day come soon, my friends,
    and may we all be enabled to return to our homes quickly,
    to resume life in its daily quiet joys and in its daily moments
    of ease and tranquility.