We all know someone who loves and obsesses over certain events in history, certain time periods, certain wars.
I don’t have any love for specifics, but I do dig history in general. I wish they’d taught it differently in school – by time period instead of geographic location so I could connect the dots of what was happening around the world all at the same time and how events influenced each other. I’ve spent the years since high school trying to shuffle all those things out on my own. I’m still at a loss.
I learn things best when I experience them. See them. Feel them.
Like being in Rome, seeing the Forum. I mean – all the times we read about Caesar’s assassination in school – to be there? To see the steps where this historic figure was betrayed? That brought it out of history and made it present and tangible for me. I remember now, no problem. To see the Colosseum? Dude. They SAILED SHIPS IN THERE. What? Now I want to know more.
Around Chester County, we see a TON of Revolutionary War buffs. For good reason. We’ve got battlefields galore. They’re beautiful open spaces that will remain open forever.
There are random cannons hanging around on the sides of roads. (I see them when I drive places every day. Neat.) We have reenactments every year.
And there’s Valley Forge Park. Y’know. Where the Continental Army camped out that one winter – cold, miserable, and pretty much untrained.
Yesterday I just wanted to go for a walk since the weather is (WAS) perking up, and VFP happens to be the closest walking trail to work. Somehow, we missed Valley Forge on our school field trips (we did hit up the Brandywine Battlefield, though. Same war. Different site). We learned the general bits of it. It was important. But not something I retained.
Best part about it? You can be a total tourist and take a million pictures, take the Cell Phone Tour, and read every plaque in the park – all while people are going for runs and acting like it’s a normal day. Ever been to the monuments in D.C.? It’s just like that. A great outdoor space that happens to be spilling over with history.
Erin and I had kind of a blast running around like wild things. There is picnic’ing and history buff’ing that needs to go down here this spring.
That von Steuben – great boot buckles, no?