"Winter at Valley Forge," Nicholas Ramsuchit, Ninth Grade, Townsend Harris High School

We marched barefoot, wounded, and frozen.

A trail of blood marks the path of our 11,000 army.

It was as General Washington said, "you could have tracked the troops by the blood of their feet."

Among the starving, weary, and dying, I trudged through the snow, Hoping to get a glimpse of the dinner that awaited my hungry soul.

"No meat!" I heard. "No meat!"

I stare to my feet, blood still dripping to the ground, And suddenly I couldn’t hear a sound.

Then aloud I cried, "God rest my soul, I’m here to die!"

"Make haste and build a tent" was the reply.

The ripped, bloodied cloth that hung on my skin, Was more of a burden than any sin.

Disease and sickness, they eat from within, And the bitter cold, it pierces like a pin.

But from crying, I refrain, for I must not think of pain.

These brittle bones will sustain.

"To see the men without clothes to cover their bareness, without blankets to lie upon, without shoes...without a house or hut to cover them until those could be built, and submitting without a murmur, is a proof of patience and obedience which, in my opinion, can scarcely be paralleled."

Words of the wise, from the general whom none despise.

Courage inspired, respect earned, and endurance gained The stepping-stones to triumph for our sorrow-hearted army.

The troops rallied on to victory,

And America became a land of the free.

But two-thousand soldiers never marched on, Two-thousand men were… gone.

Valley Forge… God rest the souls you have taken home.