Happy Fourth of July!
I don’t usually wear red, but I make an exception for patriotic occasions.


We had planned to visit Valley Forge on the 4th of July, mainly because it was between Weston’s house and the airport and we were flying out late that afternoon. However, it turned out to be a wonderfully patriotic decision. A “Community Picnic in the Park” was being held, so although it was a bit crowded, there were fun activities to help keep Sam occupied while Grandpa read his signs, and we didn’t have to leave to find food for lunch. I enjoyed hearing “Benjamin Franklin” read the Declaration of Independence to the crowd, and I was grateful to just feel the sense of goodness that radiated from the people there. I love our country and it was the perfect way to celebrate our shared birthday.

 

First stop – the visitor center. We watched the short introductory movie together, and learned more about the significance of the place. For some reason, I had thought the winter of 1777-78 was a harsh one, but it was actually quite mild (although compared to Florida still cold!). The real challenge George Washington faced was turning dozens of small state militia groups into a unified national army. That he succeeded was a miracle. That’s just my summarized impression; you can do your own research, and here’s the website to get you started.

 

Then, while Grandpa read all about people and history, weapons and strategy, Sam and I wandered around the exhibits outside. He got to meet “Benjamin Franklin” and make a whirligig. He passed on trying on old-fashioned clothing and was too young to join the “militia”.

 

As we were leaving we noticed the “build a cabin” booth. It looked like fun, but the line was a bit too long. I was impressed with all the volunteers; there were a lot of them – here’s the proof. Back inside Sam signed his name to the Declaration of Independence and checked out the gift shop.

 

Before lunch we took a short hike/walk to the river. Can you tell that it was a gorgeous day? It was beautiful, but there was also something in the air bothering Wayne’s sinuses, so he was miserable. That actually turned out to be a good thing as far as Sam was concerned; it slowed Grandpa down.

 

Trying a Pennsylvania Pretzel – cold lemonade on a hot day – I was impressed with the quickness and orderliness of the food line. These volunteers have obviously been doing this fundraiser for a while!

 

The Visitor Center is only one small part of the park. After lunch we headed out on the driving tour. Here’s some of what we saw.

 

 

 

Old-fashioned cabins are enchanting, but also cold and dark and uncomfortable.

 

Water is fascinating.

 

Trains are mesmerizing.

We could have spent more time exploring, but we didn’t want to miss our flight home. Maybe some day we’ll return to this beautiful country, and my vote would be to visit again over the 4th of July holiday. There’s just something special about being in the birthplace of our nation on its birthday.

Interestingly, someone shared this BYU Forum talk with me as I was planning this post – The Glorious Cause of America. I loved reading this perspective of George Washington, and I guess I’ll have to read the author’s books. There really are a lot of things we can learn from Washington’s life.