July 9, 1755
In the wilderness of western Pennsylvania, just outside modern day Pittsburgh, the Monongahela River flows south as it winds its way through the Allegheny Mountains. Along the shore, in the heat of this July day, a deadly battle rages in the French and Indian War.
A twenty-three year old rider, his brown hair wind-whipped behind his ears, races a horse back and forth across the front of the firing lines. The young man moves lightly atop his mount, the horse appearing to be an extension of himself. His solid six foot two inch body is in rhythm with the stallion.
The blue-gray sky matches his eyes which remain fixed with unwavering purpose. He stares straight ahead, then glances briefly at the men at his side as he shouts orders. When he wills his voice over the sound of gunfire, the only strain on his two-hundred-pound body can be seen in his neck and strong jaw line. This young lieutenant-colonel is the last of the officers. He is organizing his men for a retreat.
The Indian Chief scorns the foolishness of this man riding back and forth in plain sight. His braves have struck down officer after officer, not missing even one throughout the day. Now only this young one remains. One more shot and he, too, will be down. This chief of many nations has seen countless battles. “Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe – he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do — himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.”1
The Chief’s best marksman takes aim and fires, as he has many times this day, then he watches for the man to fall. But the young soldier continues to ride. The marksman silently glances at the Chief, feeling perplexed. Again and again he fires. Finally the man flies through the air. He is down for a moment, then suddenly rises from the tall grass and runs to replace the dead stallion that has been shot out from under him.
The Chief orders others around him to down the man, who has now mounted another horse and continues to ride in plain sight. The warriors stare in disbelief. With resolve, they reposition themselves and set their sights to hit their mark. They fire repeatedly, only to shoot another horse from under their target.
After some time, the Chief’s best warrior turns to the Chief in disbelief. “I had seventeen clear shots at him and could not bring him to the ground.”
Knowing that his best warriors seldom miss a single shot, the Chief feels the Great Spirit move within him. Suddenly, eyes wide, he lifts his hand and orders his braves to stop firing. “The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destiny — he will become the chief of many nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!”2
* * * * * * * * * *
After the battle wore down, the lieutenant-colonel orchestrated a retreat. That night as he stretched his arm toward the campfire, his jacket open, a soldier noticed the firelight shine through a hole in the thick material. There were four bullet holes in his coat, but not a scratch on his body.
A few nights later, sitting by the fire in a pensive mood, he slowly wrote two letters. The first was to his brother. “By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”3 He grieved for all of the men who had died that day, and reflected on the vision that had come when he thought a shot aimed at him had found its mark.
His second missive would stay in the family for more than two hundred and fifty years.
The vision, he would later explain to his brother in person, was of a bright light and a voice that filled his soul. He heard: “I have sent Michael to protect you! You have much work to do. I will send other archangels. Find those who they protect. Go forward and do my work for my people.”
The young man was full of wonder as he finished his letters and signed his name: George Washington.
Modern day, Milford, Pennsylvania
Adam Youngeagle smiled as he pulled off the road at the top of the hill onto the driveway of this secluded estate, nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains on the outskirts of Milford, Pennsylvania. He rolled down his window to let in the fresh fall air and shifted his four-door Jeep Rubicon down two gears. It was late afternoon. He breathed in and felt thankful for the clean air. The entrance to the property was modestly flanked by fieldstone walls bordering the private drive. He drove into the shade of the hardwoods that formed a thick canopy over the driveway as it wound its way down the hillside.
He descended in near silence before becoming aware of the sound of the running brook to his left. Ahead, the trees began to thin and give way to bright sunshine. In a few hundred yards, the brook was closer to the drive and the canopy opened. Adam never tired of the majestic views of the rolling hills and golden green meadows that seemed to change daily for his private enjoyment.
He pulled into his parking spot beside the barn, glancing to his left at the stairs that led to his apartment in the loft. As he set the parking brake, he mused about how many times he had trotted up those twenty-two steps. Got to be a couple thousand times, he grinned to himself, and thought of all the city people who would never think of climbing stairs if an elevator was available. Oh well, their loss, he chuckled as he bounded up the right side of the barn stairs.
Once inside his mostly unfurnished living quarters, Adam set his laptop down on a small table and flipped it open. He checked his email and was grateful that there was nothing from work, then changed into sweats and looked forward to his daily workout. He took his position at the center of the large main room and spent twenty minutes on stretches as he worked his way into slow motion martial arts movements and positions. He was ready now.
What happened next would have startled, maybe even frightened, a casual observer. The speed with which Adam launched himself into a whirlwind of kicks, punches, blocks and pivots was incomprehensible. It was as if he was fighting a half dozen invisible adversaries. He actually picked up speed at the fifteen minute mark. As sweat began to pour from his body, Adam concentrated even harder on the aggressive techniques that had garnered him many trophies, including a national championship in open tournament Karate fighting. His kicks were fast enough to put out a lit candle. His elbows were tucked in close to his body and his hands were positioned to guard his face, all of this second nature now.
At the forty-five minute mark, Adam began to slow his movements and idle down his body. He began controlled breathing while he allowed his mind to wander. He wasn’t sure whether it was sweat he was wiping out of his hazel eyes . . . or a combination of sweat and tears.
He had staged yet another fight to relieve stress and tension. Adam had watched helplessly as the family business he had built had been decimated and sold. He was never given the stock he was promised when the last of the more than fifty million dollars he had made was gone. He was left with nothing. With employment dead in his home state of Michigan, he and his fiancée had agreed that the best plan for their future was for Adam to accept the out of state job. And now here he was, and she had moved on.
Feeling somewhat more upbeat after showering, Adam tuned his small clock radio to a classic rock station and treated himself to a tumbler of orange juice on the rocks. What a beautiful night to barbecue, Adam thought as he gazed out the picture window at the pastures. Though it was October, the evening air felt almost balmy as he fired up his Weber grill, one of the few luxuries he had allowed himself since moving to Milford.
* * * * * * * * * *
As he finished the last bit of barbecued chicken breast, Adam’s mind wandered to the book he had acquired earlier in the week. The old bookstore had caught his attention every time he drove by the mill, but he had never ventured inside. For some reason his curiosity got the better of him that day and as he wandered through the dusty shelves, a strong impulse caused him to pick up an interesting looking narrative about the roots of the American Revolution. It was not his favorite genre or subject, yet he had felt compelled to buy it.
A good night for reading, he mused as he finished up the dishes, looking toward the wall he would lean on to read in the next room. Adam’s bedroom was bare, few furnishings and no bed. But at the end of the day he looked forward to his reading lamp and the pile of pillows that formed his seat against the wall. His favorite thing about this empty apartment, besides the fact that it had a kitchen, was the twelve foot long series of windows overlooking the pasture and the grazing horses. The pasture was lined by woods where the sun set picturesquely in the center, and he could watch the last rays of red turn to crimson before darkness fell. So much better than living in an apartment complex.
After setting the alarm clock and plugging in his cell phone for the night, he opened his new book. A few pages in, he began to doze, slipping in and out of imaginings about the founding of the United States. Adam had no way of knowing that two hundred and fifty miles away, events were unfolding that would profoundly change the rest of his life.
Finally succumbing, the book resting on his chest, he fell asleep . . .
The hard dirt streets of Philadelphia were beneath his feet. As he peered around the corner, not a block from Independence Hall, he knew sentries had been posted to give advanced warning of any oncoming British soldiers. Though it was dark, two armed guards were posted outside each door and window, which were barricaded with heavy wooden planks and locked from the inside to protect the men and the task they were undertaking. These precautions had been in effect for weeks, as the Declaration of Independence was being crafted.
These men were undertaking an act of treason according to those loyal to the British crown, but it was an act of honor to those struggling with excess repression and taxation at the hand of the country trying to colonize them. For weeks these courageous visionaries, the wisest men the colony had to offer, had come to this hall to debate. Today was a pivotal day. They had a draft of a Declaration of Independence and tensions were high. The room was smoke-filled and hot. With their final action in question, impassioned debate was raging. These men represented a people who had been pushed to a point where, in good conscience, they could no longer stand by and do nothing. Each one knew that signing this document was an irreversible act that could mean death at the hands of the king.
Suddenly Adam found himself inside the hall which had echoed all day with dialogue, raised voices, and constant murmuring from all corners of the room. As he began to look around, a moment of silence overtook them. Each man seemed to be waiting for another to speak.
Then one man rose and all eyes turned to him. He was not a young man, but a man of many years; not a large man, yet his presence seemed to fill the room. There was nothing in his ordinary appearance to command attention, yet no eye could turn from him. Breaking the silence, he passionately cited the suppression that had brought them together and the conflict that brought them to this moment. Then he paused and gazed around the room and, in the stillness, seemed to contact each eye and see into each heart.
His voice resonated from every corner of the room as he proclaimed: “‘Sign that parchment. They may turn every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave and yet the words of that parchment can never die. For the mechanic in the workshop, they will be words of hope, to the slave in the mines – freedom.” And he added, “That parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the bible of the rights of man forever.’4
He stepped back and let the rush of men move toward the document. After each had signed the Declaration of Independence, Adams and Washington turned to thank him, but he was not to be found. The men searched the room and began to question others. A call went out. Still, no one could be found who had seen him before or knew who he was. No one saw him enter or leave. All doors were locked and guarded. Sentries on the inside of the hall were questioned. Each reported that no one had attempted to pass in or out at his post.
The sentries took up their arms as Washington and Adams scurried to have the main door unlocked. With these armed men following, Adams went left and Washington went right, questioning the pair of soldiers at each door and window. When they met at the back of the hall, all reports had been the same . . .
Washington gazed solemnly at Adams. “An angel of the Lord has come today.” John Adams stood for a glimmering moment, then nodded.
* * * * * * * * * *
Adam, still in dream state, heard a voice. “Adam, many years ago archangels were sent to protect the men who were chosen to become the Founding Fathers of this nation. Since the passing of those men, we have not interfered, but we have been sent to again assist the righteous. My name is Raquel, and I, with a few chosen others, will end the tyranny that grips this once great nation. I will be with you to help you organize the special group of patriots.”
Adam asked, “What am I supposed to do?” No answer followed. Now agitated, in desperation he screamed out. “When did you come before? Will I see you again? Did the others see you? How will I know?”