George Washington Prepares to Cross the Delaware Again
Friday, December 07, 2012
Remember that majestic painting of George Washington standing in a boat in broad daylight, daringly crossing an icy Delaware River?
The famous painting is widely considered to be historically inaccurate (the actual crossing took place at night, and multiple diary accounts lament horrible weather, which would make it dangerous to stand in the boat), but organizers of the 60th Annual Christmas Day Crossing, a reenactment of Washington’s trip across the Delaware, take historical accuracy very seriously in their planning, as do the people taking part in the event.
It’s competitive to win the role of General Washington. Applicants had to submit a resume and a full-length photo of themselves in their own Washington uniform. Then, they appeared before a panel of judges who rated them on demeanor, speaking ability and knowledge of both the American Revolution and George Washington himself. There were 14 applicants in the last round of auditions.
This year’s Washington is John Godzieb. By day, he’s a police lieutenant.. He has been participating in historical reenactments for 20 years, and this will mark his fourth year as the General.
“You get into the boat and you push off from the shore and you turn around and look at the shore line and see 4,000 people standing there watching you,” he said. “And all they’re doing is waiting for you to hit the other side, and as soon as you hit the New Jersey side you hear this big cheer go up. And that’s the moment that everyone wanted to see.”
The dress rehearsal for the Christmas Day event will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Makefield, Penn. It’s open to the public, and cost of attendance is $8 for adults.