Confronting the Governor

I truly think I will never get tired of Colonial Williamsburg. Probably in my lifetime, I have spent at least 50 days there, and every time I go, I see something different and learn something new. Today (7/12/12) was no exception.

Because there are two parts to the living history drama performed in the streets, we wanted to make sure we saw the second part, having seen the first on Monday. This days focus included such new events as the choices presented to African-Americans, a march on the Governor’s mansion, and a neat bit of sword fighting. My students were especially impressed with the “non-scripted” performances–the casual conversations the actors would have with each other or us while simply walking down the street. It definitely added to the sense of reality.

Sword play

We were also able to hear a conversation with Thomas Jefferson, which was especially enlightening in light of the current political scene. It was truly an incredible experience. Another surprise came in the form of entertainment at Raleigh Tavern. The site not only boasted an original billiard table from the Colonial era, but for this special event, brought out musicians and vocalists who were truly breathtaking.

Reading the Declaration of Independence

Finally, we met on the steps of the courthouse to hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence performed by a variety of actors. One of the passions of my heart is for “common citizens” to know these documents and appreciate the rights we have and the reasons for which we fought. Unfortunately, too few Americans ever even read our founding documents. To hear this amazing document read publicly on the steps of a courthouse where it quite possibly was read centuries ago was quite a surreal experience, and one I won’t soon forget.

Militia Preparations

The reading was immediately followed by fife and drum music and a series of maneuvers by the militia, reminding the viewer that our Independence, while “free” to us, cost our forefathers dearly. Those who pledged “their lives, their liberty, and their sacred honor” often made good on that pledge. Would that we would be reminded of their commitment and sacrifice and not allow government to rob us of those very liberties for which they spilled their blood.