On Dec. 19, 1777, about 12,000 soldiers, along with hundreds of women and children, trudged into winter encampment at Valley Forge. Rations were meager; clothing sparse. Weather conditions were not ideal, and payment for service was again in arrears. About 2,000 soldiers died during that Valley Forge winter. Yet, under Gen. George Washington, the men, women, and children at camp persevered, held fast to their dream, and demonstrated to the world what American fortitude and determination look like.

The difficulties facing America today - war, a tumultuous worldwide economic climate, threats of terrorism, natural disasters, precarious job security, uncertain personal and family finances, health worries, concerns about family, friends, and home - are nothing new for this country. We have faced these problems many times before. Again and again, both American civilians and soldiers have stood up to hard times, and prevailed.

Almost 235 years ago, a Valley Forge soldier declared with conviction, "America is invincible." This was a bold statement, for America had not even won the war. Let all Americans seize the patriotism of the soldiers of Washington's army and march forward, in the spirit of Valley Forge.

Nancy K. Loane

Valley Forge