But first, he had to say goodbye to his troops. First, he had to resign from the service. No one can empathize with the general as, with tears clouding his vision, he delivers touching speeches in both locations. Only then can he make the ride to be with Martha on Christmas. Douglas Southall Freeman describes his arrival:
At last the cold, clear waters of the Potomac came in sight, then the ferry and after that the blusterous passage, the last swift stage of the ride, the beloved trees, the yard, the doorway, Martha's embrace and the shrill, excited voices [of Martha's grandchildren] - all this a richer reward than the addresses of cities, the salute of cannon and the approving words of the President of Congress."
But there he is. Riding through the cold night. Riding toward his life's love. We can only imagine the homecoming.
Through empathizing, Fourth graders might just learn:
- That absence makes the heart grow fonder.
- Suspense is part of the reward.
- Family is important.
- Change can be difficult.