God bless America
Caesar Rodney, representative from Delaware, staggered, soaking wet and seriously ill, into the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. Suffering from facial cancer, Rodney had ridden to the Congress from his home in Delaware in order to ensure that Delaware would indeed vote for independence. As he signed the document, he effectively signed his own death warrant: The best medical care could be found only in England.
Land that I love
On Aug. 27, 1776, the Continental Army was in dire straits. Driven from their positions on Long Island, hundreds of militiamen fled for their lives. Lord Stirling, an American general, ordered Maj. Mordecai Gist to lead his Maryland 400 into the fray to cover the American retreat. George Washington watched from a distant hilltop as over 250 of the Marylanders fell. "My God!" he exclaimed. "What brave men must I lose this day!"
Stand beside her
Deadlocked and contentious, the Constitutional Convention was going nowhere. Then, on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin took the floor to ask that each morning, prayers be offered. "I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men," Franklin stated. "And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?" Nearly a year later, the United States Constitution would be ratified.
And guide her
It had been a year and a half since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from St. Louis, Mo. Now, in November 1805, they finally gazed upon the Pacific Ocean. Capt. Clark described the overwhelming experience: "Great joy in camp. We are in view of the ocean, this great Pacific Ocean which we have been so long anxious to see, and the roaring or noise made by the waves breaking on the rocky shores ... may be heard distinctly." Lewis and Clark's journey would become emblematic of the American spirit.
Through the night
After overwhelming a weak American defense, the British marched into a largely deserted Washington, D.C., on Aug. 24, 1814. Soldiers proceeded directly to the United States Capitol, which they set ablaze; they then marched to the White House, which they reduced to smoldering ruins.
With a light from above