Our “Summer of American History”

Last year (2015) our Summer Adventure was of the Grand kind (we took a trip to the Grand Canyon).  This year, while we were just as adventurous, we opted to stay closer to home and explore in and around our West Carroll County, Maryland location.  And in September, after the start of the school year, we used our vacation to fulfill a class assignment by making a timeline of our adventures.

Last year (2015) our Summer Adventure was of the Grand kind (we took a trip to the Grand Canyon).  This year, while we were just as adventurous, we opted to stay closer to home and explore in and around our West Carroll County, Maryland location.  And in September, after the start of the school year, we used our vacation to fulfill a class assignment by making a timeline of our adventures.

We live in close proximity to several historical destinations including Philadelphia and historic Gettysburg, PA. We dubbed our 2016 adventure “The Summer of American History”.  In as much as this year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, our theme fit in perfectly.  A little over one month into the summer, we had already logged countless footsteps all over Maryland and Pennsylvania including Catoctin Mountain Park, Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Gettysburg Military Park, and the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA.

We spent a day driving part of the Gettysburg Military Park checking out the statues.  I found the Michigan statue to be of particular interest.  Many visitors are unaware that General George Armstrong Custer fought at Gettysburg.  The battle he took part in was not part of the main battle but was instrumental in “turning the tide” of the war.   We got out to get a closer look at the statue and listen to the breeze rustle through the corn crops.

Fort McHenry in Baltimore is considered to be “the birthplace of the American National Anthem”, after Francis Scott Key, a young lawyer born in Carroll County, MD, inspired by seeing the flag still flying after a night of “seeing rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air”, wrote a poem that was later put to the melody “To Anacreon in Heaven”.  That poem became our National Anthem.

Flight 93 Memorial stands as a testament to the courage and patriotism of the passengers and crew of Flight 93.   I found it to be a moving and emotional visit. The passengers and crew who, with very little time left, made the conscious decision to fight back, not to save themselves, but to save their fellow Americans.   In an area of over 1000 acres of meadow and wood near Shanksville, PA, the Memorial itself begs you to whisper when you speak.  It is an important destination to take the kids to so they can have a full understanding of the measure of freedom.

You would think after doing all this, we would be exhausted but it was only the first of August!  We were having too much fun to be exhausted!

We spent a few days exploring Shenandoah National Park.  We came close to an introduction to the wildlife of the park! img_3636

Our last stop for the summer was Assateague Island in Maryland and Chincoteague in Virginia.  Assateague is home of the wild ponies of Assateague Island.  The area was so beautiful we hated to leave!  By the time we got home, we had already decided our vacation destination next year would be a return trip to Assateague!

 

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