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Exploring Valley Forge National Park
Valley Forge Pennsylvania
Highlights of the park
The park is free of charge and consists of almost 5 1/2 square miles of trees and rolling country side. The Welcome Center has a small museum with a gift shop. There are over 19 miles of hiking trails winding through the park. Several picnic areas with barbecue pits and rest rooms near by. The Appalachian trail leads into the park and there are also the Horseshoe trail for horseback riding. The Schuylkill River runs along the park and also has a hiking trail.
Periodically they have Continental soldier re-enactment shows for the public. They offer ranger tours and events such as General Washington's birthday in February. Washington's headquarters and the historic winter camp.
Local legend of Angels in the park.
There is a local legend of an angel who spoke with General Washington and gave him three visions of the future wars of the USA. The first vision was the revolutionary war with America winning its freedom, after many hardships. Second vision was of the Civil War with the divided country re-uniting when all won their freedom. The third vision is of a future still to come and was very bleak and disturbing. The visions were kept secret, as Washington shared them with only a few of his closest associates. They have been passed down orally as legend, I've seen them written about only once long ago. I first learned of the legend from my family, who heard it from their grandparents who also learned from their grandparents and so on. I will disclose them in more detail below, as their time has come. I will only touch on the third part and say it is not something to look forward to and we can still change it.
Very similar to the prophecy of the Lady of Fatima that was also in three parts and kept secret with the last part being terrible and still changeable. Possible it is the very same angelic being with a similar message for different people in different times and locations? Or just a coincidence, who knows?
Sites to Explore
1. Welcome Center
2. Winter Encampment
3. Washington's Headquarters
4. Valley Forge War Monument
5. Varnum's Picnic and area of Valley Forge Angels.
6. Hiking trails and Schuylkill River trail
7. Horse Shoe trail and forest
Our journey begins
It was a beautiful day in late spring and my wife and I decided to explore Valley Forge park which is about 20 minutes from our house. First we went to the Welcome Center and investigated the relics and photos. They have old time guns, tools and equipment the continental soldiers used in the hard winter of 1777. There were crude medical supplies and bone saws on display. Along with old time clothes and rags they wore in freezing conditions. We bought a park map in the gift store and a few snacks and headed outside to the trails.
Following the path we walked to the monument raised to the hero's that camped and trained at Valley Forge. There are many fields surrounded by forest throughout the park. My wife and watched the people walking and riding bicycles down the path. There is a small building where they rent bicycles to ride the trails. We saw a bicycle with two seats with a husband and wife ride by laughing as they pedaled down the trail.
Valley Forge Cabin Bunkers
Colonial winter camp
We walked up a paved trail past cannons and gun emplacements. Old cannons were strategically placed overlooking a hill and pointing towards Philadelphia. I imagine to shoot the British should they attack from their city stronghold at that time.
Soon a platoon of colonial soldiers marched by us playing their drums and flutes, while some were holding their rifles. They were heading to the winter camp area and told me they were performers from Virginia. They informed me that I was lucky to have come on this day because we could watch them and interact with them while they performed their show. They said they only do this once or twice a year and they were excited to play the part of colonial soldiers. So we let them march by and followed them to the encampment.
When we finally arrived to the cabins and tents. actors were already busy cooking over a fire. There was an old time doctor there explaining how the sick and wounded soldiers were medically treated. When he informed us how crude the treatments were if a soldier was shot. I mentioned that if a soldier was shot he must have hoped he would die, rather than need to be treated and everyone laughed and agreed. But there was no battle at Valley Forge the real enemy there was the cold and disease. Because the soldiers were ill equipped to endure the hard winter that ensued.
After the army arrived in 1777 they quickly built cabins for shelter, but the did not have much food and everything had to be rationed. They were malnourished and many didn't even have shoes. Could you imagine spending a winter in the hills of Pennsylvania in your bare feet? Many soldiers contracted frostbite or died from disease.
Harsh times and prayers
In the winter of 1777 and 1778 the soldiers morale declined as the harsh weather raged on with the threat of a British attack looming at any moment. The English army was stationed just 20 miles away in Philadelphia and could attack without warning. The continental army at this time consisted of farmers, rouges and criminals who banded together to revolt against an unjust authority. They were not trained in military tactics and for the most part undisciplined. General Washington was very charismatic and did his best to raise their Morale. Bickering between the soldiers and fist fights would occasionally break out, as the soldiers endured their cold and starving plight.
An angel of Light appears.
The story goes that Washington was in a state of dismay and prayed that he could keep the men mustered and that they would survive the winter. One night after a dinner meal of only cooked flour and water he ventured into the woods alone. He bent down on one knee beside a tree and began to pray. Soon he looked up and noticed a bright light flickering above him. It was an angel that had come to answer his prayer. The angel came to him and spoke words of promise and hope. She showed him a vision in three different scenes of the future. The first was a vision the the war they were fighting and the winter they were presently enduring.
Angels hide in beams of light
Three visions the angel shared with Washington
First part of the vision.
The angel came down to General Washington as he prayed for hope. The old story goes that she first gave him a vision of the winter at Valley Forge and the encampment. She told him that there will soon arrive a foreign commander that will help and teach his soldiers the ways of war. The angel informed Washington that he can raise the spirits of his soldiers with song and prayer. That the rag tag army of the Americans will drive the British from Philadelphia and from this country and new and great country will be born. She placed her hand of light on his brow and he saw a vision unfold of their victory. A vision of a new country that rests on the foundation of freedom.
Second part of the vision.
Then the vision suddenly changed and moved forward in time. To a future war when the country has divided and people are killing their own countrymen. The vision went on to show the tragedy of this great war between countrymen and many horrors and death. This war will conclude in the country uniting once again when all men are free and live as equals side by side, in time.
Third part of the vision.
The vision abruptly changed to scenes of war and strange machines shooting fire. The angel showed General Washington the final vision of a time when the new country comes apart from within and from without. This vision of horror culminated in much terror and death. The beast rears its ugly head from within our own country and while at the same time attack comes from abroad. The new country will endure its final test at this time. The final vision showed much strange change, as nothing will remain as it once was. This vision was left open and unfinished. The angel informed Washington that nothing lasts forever, but god and so too will the new country eventually fade. It will depend on the actions, beliefs, and faith of the future era. The third vision of the future horrified General Washington, as it should us because its time is soon to come.
The angel then took her hand from Washington's head, as he fell to the ground. She told him the time was upon him to have faith and his army will succeed. The beam of light then folded upon itself and disappeared. These visions inspired Washington and gave him the faith and courage to succeed.
Washington returned from the forest and told the soldiers he had news help was on its way. He told them the time has come for them to rejoice and sing around the fires they had burning to cook over. Washington did not explain the news, but his resolve gave them hope and so they found new resolve.
Soon Baron von Steuben arrived to train the troops in military tactics. He was born in Prussia and had been a commander in the Prussian Army. Frederick von Steuben helped Washington mold the band of roughens into soldiers. When the winter passed they marched out of Valley Forge into battle and drove the British from Philadelphia and from our land to create our great country.
The Valley Forge Angels.
Washington's angel along with a few other angels who inhabit the park are known in local legend as the Valley Forge Angels. It is a small group of angels or beings of light that sometimes can be seen at the park. You may only see a glimpse of light in the trees or hear beautiful music and singing in the distance. People have also said that they can sometimes smell lilac flowers in late fall or winter, when no flowers are in bloom. On rare occasion the angels may show themselves to you, if you are one of the lucky few who see them. There is an area of trees near Varnum's picnic area where they can sometimes be seen or heard.
Just to clarify a point. Angels are not religious, they are not specific to any one religion. They are beings of light, they do not subscribe to man's silly meme patterns. Religions adopt angels and speak about them, not the other way around. Angels care nothing if you believe in one religion or another or even none. They usually have a message for you or you will not see them. They are part of you and I, as we are all part of the concept we call god. Angels work for the light and light is a symbol of awareness and love. So this is not a religious hub, unless you want it to be and either way I am fine with it. Your choice, your life, your memes. Just don't shoot me because I don't subscribe to your particular set of meme patterns.
Vision of an Angel
Do you believe the the story about the vision of the angel?
To sense angels you may experience:
Flash of light
music or singing
beam of light
fuzzy waves of light
© 2015 Randy Hirneisen