Though Washington couldn’t cross the Delaware this Christmas for the 68th annual crossing due to high river water, reenactors took to the stage for other displays.
Frank Lyons is the owner of the Continental Tavern in Yardley and served in the Air Force during several conflicts, including Operation Desert Storm. Now every Christmas, he plays the part of Colonel John Glover, head of the regiment responsible for rowing Washington across the river.
“I was so used to wearing a uniform between the Air Force and [flying for] United Airlines, when I retired I had to go find a way to wear a uniform,” Lyons said. “Now I wear the uniform of a Revolutionary War general.”
Reenactors held ceremonies and speeches in lieu of the more significant crossing. Tom Maddock is a Historical Interpreter with the Washington Crossing Historic Park and says it’s necessary to conduct the reenactment, even during off years.
“It is very critical to the formation of the United States. As we all know the revolution was on tender hooks, grasping at straws,” Maddock said. “It was the beginning of the turn around that eventually led to our defeating the British and becoming a country.”
As many as 200 reenactors were signed up to participate in this year’s ceremony. Thousands of people turn out each year to view the displays and speeches, as well as the crossing when the river cooperates.
The original crossing in 1776 was a little more intense with 2400 troops, 200 horses, and 18 cannons making their way to the other side of the river. Next year brings another opportunity to reenact the crossing and remember United States history.