An annual Delaware Valley tradition takes place Christmas Day as Revolutionary War re-enactors will cross into Titusville, New Jersey, from Washington Crossing State Park in Upper Makefield, Bucks County.
“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Those are the immortal words penned by Thomas Paine and read to Continental Army troops just prior to their 1776 Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River.
Those words will once again echo across the banks of the frigid Delaware River when thousands flock to witness the annual re-enactment of the famous crossing by George Washington and his rag-tag army.
The part of Gen. Washington will be played this year by Langhorne resident John Godzieba who says he will have plenty of help getting the Durham boats across the river.
“We get about 200 to 250 re-enactors who participate in the crossing, and it’s a mix of dedication I would say, as there are some of us who are hard-core re-enactors, such as myself, who do this as a hobby around the eastern United States,” he said. “And then you have others whose relatives or ancestors crossed here.”
When not playing the part of Washington, Godzieba is a lieutenant in the Bristol Township Police Department, a job he says has helped him take on the as the father of our nation.
“I think I also take back some of Washington to my work,” he said. “There’s certain aspects of Washington’s life, such as his humility and his ability to work with others and listen to others — he listened to his officers. And I think I’ve taken that back over the years to my work, so it’s worked both ways.”
This year’s re-enactment gets under way Thursday at noon with the crossing taking place at 1 p.m.