Mount Vernon


Mount Vernon

Today (7/12/2017), I headed into Mount Vernon to catch up with some dear friends from high school who made the sacrifice to drive a few hours to see me and suffer the heat to visit with me.  Because of morning commitments, they were going to be later in the day, so I made the hour drive a bit early so I could do some research before they arrived.  When I arrived, however, I discovered that the research area had been moved from Mount Vernon itself to a library across the street–closed to the public until November, except by appointment only.  (My second time to be stuck in that situation.)  But, once again, the helpful people at customer service made arrangements for me to be able to go over to the library.

The study room 💗

After going through intense security (having to be buzzed in at two different entrances), I arrived at the new facility.  I’m sure I could have spent hours, but I only had about an hour before my friends arrived.  The librarian gave me a list of databases and helped me navigate their collection.  Right away, I found an amazing collection of George Washington’s memories of the French Indian War, and found it is still in print, so I ordered it from Barnes and Noble.  I also found a hardcover collection of the writings I had spent hours in Williamsburg reading online (Though this one ran almost $200–But, I discovered my home library may have it.)  While I didn’t really find anything new, per se, I found amazing resources to peruse at home, so it was definitely a great stop.

Part of the farm area

Then, it was off to Mount Vernon.  While it has been a while since any of us were here, there was so much I remembered and loved.  The grounds are beautiful, the wharf was neat to see, as were the gardens and farm area (though the walk back up was rough).  My favorite Mrs. Washington wasn’t there, which was a disappointment, as she is always a highlight.

But, the thing that struck me the most was the tour itself.  I jokingly called it the turbo tour.  While they had narrators in every area of the house, we actually spent less than a minute in any room.  We were shuffled along, catching only scattered pieces of information as we hustled through.  Yes, it was cool to see, but we wanted to learn.  I don’t know if I’m romanticizing my previous visit, but I feel like we lingered longer last time–that we had an actual guide who took us around.

A handsome George–around the age he is in my book

As we walked out, discussing the turbo tour, one of my friends pointed at the line, and said, “Yes, but imagine how long we’d have to wait if each group got an individual tour.”  I don’t know–somehow, I feel there has to be a better way to get the information.  Perhaps that’s what the Premium Tour covers.

All in all, it was still a good day, and as Jenny Roberts commented on Facebook, “That place is where history really hit me once.  Standing in the dining room, it became very real to me that George Washington himself had stood there, too!”  I’m hoping more people can slow down long enough for it to hit them too.

 

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Washington’s Birthplace

After church at Crosswalk this morning (7/9/17), I set out from Williamsburg to take in two spots from Washington’s youth:  his birthplace, where he lived through age three, and his boyhood home, where he lived until he was a young teenager.  Both were incredible to see.

When I arrived at the birthplace, I learned that it had been the intention of George’s father Augustine to secure farms for all of his sons, not just the first one as was traditional.  He had the Pope’s Creek plantation first, then acquired Mount Vernon, and finally Ferry Farm.  Because of these acquisitions, George only lived at the Pope’s Creek Plantation until he was three, but often returned often during his youth. The house was in the family until 1779 when it burned in a fire on Christmas Day.

The reconstructed house–where they thought it stood.

While there is an outline of original house, the house on the property was built for the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday.  They built it on the spot they assumed was the original, but later archaeology confirmed a different location.

Our house tour was given by the lively Chris Kennedy, who told Washington’s whole story in rhymed verse–very fascinating information and delivery.  Kennedy stated that the stories about Washington (like the Cherry tree incident) were not meant to be taken for real events, but rather served as moral examples to the character children should acquire.  Chris said that the point of the Cherry tree story is to teach children (and grown ups as well) to admit when they’ve made a mistake.

Washington’s view out to the Potomac River

Chris also shared a bit of the Washington family history.  Washington’s dad’s first wife Jane died, leaving 3 kids.  Augustine’s second wife Mary gave birth to five more, of which George was the oldest.  As I mentioned, Augustine Washington was actively working to acquire farms for each of his sons, but when he died, all of George’s prospects changed. Now, he couldn’t go to England to study (a fact that would hinder his advancement in the British Army).  Additionally, Mary pulled George out of school at the age of 11 to help her run the Ferry Farm (she decided not to remarry–her property would be affected.  Additionally, with her older step sons (both in their 20’s) running Mount Vernon and Pope’s Creek, she felt she and George could manage Ferry Farm–George’s inheritance.)  George wanted to be in the British Navy, but his mom wrote letters so they wouldn’t take him (I’m curious to find what these say!)  Instead, she reluctantly sent George to his half brothers’ farms to learn.

The cradle came from the Washingtons, so it could have been George’s.

It is at his brothers that George does his first survey:  his brother’s turnip garden. His brother introduces him to Lord Fairfax, the richest man in Virginia and Lawrence’s father-in-law, who will hire him on as a surveyor.  George had always imagined he’d be a British officer and played with toy soldiers as a boy, but because of his lack of education, he was looked down on, even when he was able to join the militia.  George worked first as a farmer, then as a surveyor. Because of this, he knew much of the land, a fact that would advance him in battle later.

The bridge (reconstructed) over Pope’s Creek

Another tragedy struck when Lawrence died.  His widow inherited Mount Vernon. (George was next in line after her.)   George asks her to rent it to him, and she does. Shortly after, George receives a commission in the British army. His job?  Take letters to Ft. Duquesne.  Along the way, the French ambushed the company and an unarmed French nobleman was shot. Washington took prisoners so he’d have a chance to explain the situation (at Ft. Necessity.)  But, George still became the fall guy. (Apparently, he signed a confession he couldn’t understand because his translator had died–a good lesson in not signing something without reading it!)

Washington’s parents’ coats of arms

Later, General Braddock was advised by George to fight behind trees. Braddock ignores George’s advice and gets caught in an ambush where he and other officers are killed. The virtually leaderless soldiers flee to the woods. Washington is able to lead them out by a trail he knew as a boy. George himself had bullet holes in shoulder and hat. He did, however, learn that the British only want to hear what they want to hear instead of how to best protect their men.  That knowledge will help him with the attack on Trenton in the American Revolution.

Entrance to Ferry Farm

From Washington’s birthplace, I headed out to Ferry Farm.  I was surprised to enter this formerly 600 acre plantation by means of a dirt and gravel road. I knew that Augustine Washington had owned an iron works 6 miles down the road, which was probably the reason he chose this spot–that and it was near Fredericksburg, which was a bustling tobacco port. But, Ferry Farm was to be George’s property.  I found out when I went in the main building that George’s mom finally sold this property and moved to Fredericksburg in 1772. She sold it to Mercers, who rented it out. Later, a soldier in Civil War wrote a letter home in which he stated they had torn down Washington’s house for firewood. After that, Youth For Christ bought the property for a boy’s home. In 1996, the Kenmore foundation (Washington’s sister’s home) purchased it. Finally, in 2008 archaeologists found foundation of the house, and they are currently rebuilding on original site.

The Visitor Center

At the visitor center, I received an ipad to take a tour around the grounds.  There is a series of 10 flags which mark various points on the property.  At each point, you can listen to historical information as well as hear from the archaeologists.  Here are a few of the nuggets I gleaned along the way:

1.  When George moved here from Mount Vernon, he left a plantation for urban life–the city is obviously very different from the country.

2.  George’s first survey was of brother’s turnip patch. When Lord Fairfax enlisted him as a surveyor, this gave George a substantial salary.  Additionally, surveyors got to see the land first for claiming.

3.  Some slaves came with the property, some the Washington’s already had, and some came from Africa. One of the beads found on the property marked a chief.  I was reminded of the story of Cinque on the Amistad.  I wonder what his story was.

 

4.  Archaeology tells a lot about the family.  Since all of the estates were separated when Augustine died, Mary, who is 35 at the time and has 5 children, is left in charge of all the plantations. One thing archaeologists found is a punch bowl that Mary had mended–this shows that while they were comfortably situated, Mary is still being frugal.

 

5.  Being at the crossroads of trade, George undoubtedly conversed with people coming and going, which would improve his gentlemanly standing.  Also, from his surveyors wages, he paid for his own dancing and fencing lessons and to go to the theatre–which I think is both cool and hilarious.  He also learns cards and billiards, joins the masons, and is taught tea table manners. He learned gentlemanly behavior both at Ferry Farm and from Lawrence and the Fairfaxes.

6.  Archaeologists found over 115 wig curlers on Ferry Farm.  (George didn’t wear a wig–he liked his own hair better….)

The Rappahannock–this is the river Washington threw things across, though stones, not silver dollars

7.  Two court cases draw very public scrutiny of the family.  First, in there’s a trial in which one slave kills another–there wasn’t much information on that.  The other court case concerns George swimming in the Rappahannock and 2 indentured servants steal his clothes (I also think this one is hilarious!)

Construction and archaeology

Though it was unfinished, I’m glad I made a stop here, and will enjoy seeing the progress they’ve made the next time I come!

Governor’s Palace

Today (3/29/17), we had planned to do another tour of historic Jamestown with the woman who was giving the Roads Scholars’ tour, but when we called Jamestowne, we were told her tour wouldn’t be until 3 (Turns out, it was a miscommunication and she wasn’t giving a tour today.)  So, with our initial plans out the window, we were left to explore new territory.

We spent the morning running errands and trying to obtain contact information for the new man in charge of Colonial Williamsburg.  As long time guests, we believe he’s making some major mistakes in direction and wanted to address them before it’s too late.  While his schedule wouldn’t allow us to meet this week, I received assurances that his chief of staff would contact me.  We’ll see.

Freedom Park cabins

So, we had time to kill before our 5:30 lecture on George Washington.  Last night, I had Googled a “Must see” list for the area to see what we had missed in our devotion to our favorites.  One area that caught my eye was Freedom Park.  While it is known for its hiking and biking trails and zip lining, it also is the site of one of the oldest free black settlements.

Reconstruction of a cabin like John Jackson’s.

The place got its start when William Ludwell Lee of Green Spring Farm not only freed his slaves in his will, but also made provisions for comfortable homes to be built for them. His executor saw to the project which allowed the former slaves to live rent free for ten years.  One of the homes represents the home of John Jackson (with his wife Nancy and two children.)  Jackson was able to purchase and develop his own property, and his descendants still live in the area!

The park guide also references an 18th century cemetery, and though there were archaeological digs on the grounds and bodies were found, they were reinterred after research was completed.  Unfortunately, there are no markers nor clues to the information archaeologists found, and the area is simply blocked off by rail fences.

Botanical Gardens

The park does, however, have a visitor center which displays a small collection of artifacts and information.  My favorite piece was a map from the Civil War simply listing the area as “Free Negro Settlement.”  There aren’t any houses marked or details, indicating the artist didn’t explore the area. I wished I’d gotten a picture of it, but alas,  I didn’t.

There is a beautiful botanical garden as well, which is run by volunteers.  Though I don’t expect Freedom Park to become a new favorite, it is definitely worth visiting, and since it’s only about five years old and a county park, I’m sure it will continue to improve.  It will be fun to see the changes that occur.

A sampling of period clothes

We left Freedom Park to head back to Colonial Williamsburg for a lecture in the building formerly known as the Dewitt Wallace–now the Art Museums of Williamsburg.  Being a reenactor and a seamstress, I wanted to check out their collection of Colonial Fashion, now on display.  There was a beautiful exhibition of clothes and quilts–well worth visiting, even though I didn’t have much time before the lecture.

The lecture by Professor Peter Henriques was entitled I cannot tell a lie. Myths about George Washington that should be discarded. In his discussion, he gave twelve myths and his reasons why they’re “fake news.”  I’ll recount them here.

Washington’s false teeth

Myth #1:  He had wooden teeth.  Actually,  Washington’s false teeth were a combination of human, ivory, and animal.  In fact, he even bought teeth from his slaves!

Myth #2:  He threw a silver dollar across the Potomac. First, silver dollars hadn’t been invented, and Washington wouldn’t have thrown money away if they had.

CW not GW

Myth #3:  He cut down his father’s cherry tree and said,  “I cannot tell a lie…” This myth was popularized in the book by Mason Locke Weems called The Life of Washington, but, though it appears in the book, it wasn’t added til 5-6 edition. There is some background, though. A vase in Germany (1770-1790) depicts Washington cutting down a tree with GW over his head. Unfortunately, on this case, “Washington” is a grown man, and the initials?  CW.

Myth #4:  Washington prayed on his knees at Valley Forge. While there is nothing implausible about Washington praying. He was a very private man, not given to such ostentatious displays. The story only was added by Weems in the 17th edition of his book. Additionally, the description of the man who supposedly witnessed this differs in accounts.  One has Potts as a Quaker encouraged by the event while others portray him as a Tory disheartened by the event.  In either case, he didn’t buy the farm in Valley Forge until after war was over, so could not have witnessed Washington there.

Myth #5:   Washington was a great curser. The reference to this comes from an account of his clash with Lee in 1778 at the Battle of Monmouth. Lee had turned his troops, and Washington had to rush in to save the day.  A quote by Colonel Charles Scott says, “He swore til the leaves shook the trees.” First of all, Scott wasn’t there, and recounted the story many years later. Also disputing this character portrayal, Alexander Hamilton said Washington never cursed. Charles Lee himself said in his testimony that Washington’s manner was stronger than his language. Finally, Washington prided himself on self- mastery and disdained use of profanity.   All of these are good reasons to doubt the account.

IMG_6472

Sculpture of Washington

Myth # 6:   He was cold and aloof.  Apparently, his friend Gouverneur Morris said he was remote. This stems from a story circulated that Morris had told Hamilton he thought Washington quite genial.  Hamilton apparently bet him dinner and wine if Morris would put his hand on Washington’s shoulder and say, “General!  How happy I am to see you looking so well.”  Supposedly, Morris did it, and Washington removed his hand from his shoulder and glared at Morris until he left.  As with the other myths, there is no contemporary evidence. First, the record is third hand gossip 80 years after the event. Additionally, the story is out of character for both men. Delegates who served with Washington said, “He is sensible, amiable, virtuous, modest, and brave.” To publicly embarrass someone would go against his rules of civility; therefore, it’s safe to assume the incident never happened.

Myth #7:  He had no sense of humor.  James Madison said Washington “enjoyed good humor and hilarity, though he takes little part in them.”  Additionally, Washington’s bad teeth might have given credence to this rumor as well, since most people don’t like smiling and laughing if they’re self conscious–and self-mastery was extremely important to him.

Myth #8:  Washington had a child with his slave.  This rumor has two sources.  The first was letters put out by the British during the war trying to slander Washington’s character.  The other comes from West Ford, who was the son of George Washington’s brother John’s wife’s slave.  The Ford family gave oral tradition that he was Washington’s son.  A number of facts dispute this, however.  First, West didn’t come to Mount Vernon until three years after Washington died. Additionally, there is incredible difficulty with putting Venus (West’s mom) and Washington together.  Since West was born during the war when we have very credible evidence where Washington was, the only possibility would be when John’s family visits Mount Vernon. There’s no plausible reason why Washington–a happily married man who valued duty and self discipline above most else–would do that. West is most likely the son of one of Washington’s nephews.  Doctors now think that Washington was most likely sterile. This doesn’t necessarily disprove the Fords story of having Washington DNA.  The Fords may be directly related to Washington without being directly descended from him.

Myth #9:  Washington struggled about whether to be a king. In actuality, he was fundamentally a believer in republican values. The origins of this belief may be because of a letter from a French officer suggesting it may be better for America to have a king (strong leadership in tumultuous times.). George responded with a blistering letter contradicting that view and even went as far as to have witnesses sign that he sent it. It would have caused him to be viewed as a traitor if he abandoned his republican principles.

Myth #10:  Washington added “So help me God” to his presidential oath.  First, there isn’t contemporary evidence to this.  A letter from the French ambassador which spells out the whole scene of the inauguration in vivid detail doesn’t include it.  But, 65 years later, it appears in a book. It seems out of character for Washington to tamper with the constitutional text when he’s such a stickler for the Constitution being taken literally. The tradition may come from the fact that he’d said it in other oaths.

Myth #11:  Washington is a front man for Alexander Hamilton.  This myth had its origin with Jefferson who immensely disliked Hamilton.  Unfortunately, Washington tends to side with Hamilton’s perspective more than Jefferson’s.  Jefferson’s answer to this frustration is that Washington is deceived by Hamilton, since he cannot consider Washington evil like he considers Hamilton.

Myth #12:  Washington originated the 2 term tradition. It’s important to understand the factors here.  First, Washington steps down from a combination of fatigue and a desire to establish a transition of power. He was not opposed to the idea of serving a number of terms. In fact, in a letter to Lafayette, he said that he saw no problem with serving multiple terms, and thought limiting terms stifled the voice of the people, who might desire a particular person to serve longer (or be in circumstances that would make it easier or better for a leader to continue.)

All in all, it was a fascinating evening, and I see why his lectures are so popular and well attended.

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

Wednesday (6/11/14), we planned to see the homes of two icons in American History: George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Robert E. Lee’s Arlington. While mom and I had been, Jen had not, so we were excited to see what had changed.

Back lawn of Mount Vernon

Back lawn of Mount Vernon

We started at Mount Vernon. This vast expanse of land is not only beautiful, but offers so many experiences for the visitor. One new tour Jen and I were especially excited about was the National Treasure tour ($5.00+ admission). Those familiar with the Second National Treasure (Book of Secrets) will recognize Mount Vernon as the spot where Benjamin Gates kidnaps the president. Parts of the movie were actually filmed on location at Mount Vernon, or recreated after parts of it, so we were excited to see specifically the “tunnels” under the building. Since our tour was at 11:30, we jumped in line to tour the house and surrounding buildings. Visitors are not allowed to photograph inside the building, but it was still an awesome experience. It was especially interesting to see the bed in which George Washington died and learn that Martha never slept in their bedroom after that, but made herself a room on the third floor. Unfortunately, there’s no photography inside.

"Tunnel" exit

“Tunnel” exit

After touring the house and gardens, we met our group for the National Treasure Tour. This tour, nicknamed by our tour guide the “Hollywood and History” tour, truly lived up to its name. We started the tour on the back lawn which was the location of the party in the movie. Our guide shared how careful the crew had to be to protect the location: They wrapped the pillars with Styrofoam before hanging light wires, kept a row of firetrucks on hand for the pyrotechnic sign, and generally protected the area. The incredible part for me was the second area of the tour. After leaving the lawn, we got special access to the cellar area under Mount Vernon. I love being able to see things that are not readily accessible to the general public. This area served as a model for the movie, though no actual filming took place here–it’s too steep, too narrow, and too fragile. But, as we walked along the corridor, I noticed a stone designed like the secret door in the movie. Our guide shared that this was a replica of the original cornerstone, the original having been removed and placed in the museum at Mount Vernon.
View of Mount Vernon from the Beach

View of Mount Vernon from the Beach

One interesting fact was that the initials on the stone are L.W. after George Washington’s half brother Lawrence Washington, who was the first to live in Mt. Vernon and who named it after his commander, Admiral Vernon, in the War of Jenkins’ Ear. One fun fact we learned is that in the version of the film shown on the big screen, the initials on the stone had been changed to G.W., to make it connected to George Washington for the viewers. Those who own the DVD edition will notice that they have been changed back to the original L.W. This is because the Mount Vernon Ladies Association were upset that they had changed it for the film and demanded it be historically accurate–apparently, they have a lot of pull. And rightly so. This group was started by the women that saved Mount Vernon from oblivion. Louisa Bird Cunningham was travelling down the Potomac River and noticed the disrepair of Mount Vernon. Realizing if something wasn’t done, and soon, this great building would be lost to the ages, she wrote a letter to her daughter who challenged the women of the South, then the nation to save this estate.
Coastline where the fishing scene was filmed

Coastline where the fishing scene was filmed

They raised $200,000 to buy the property, and the rest is history, albeit one of a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears. No wonder they want to make sure it is represented accurately!

After the tunnels–sorry, no pictures could be taken there either–we headed down to the beach. This was an incredibly steep climb with a lot of stairs, but well worth it. In the movie, this is the spot of the fishing scene–how Benjamin Gates gets into the party (He definitely would have had a haul to make it up that cliff!) The beach was beautiful, and afforded a great view of Mount Vernon from the vantage point that most visitors would have first seen it. The beach was the last stop on our National Treasure tour.

The Washingtons' graves

The Washingtons’ graves

On the way back up, we decided to stop at the tomb of the Washingtons. The design and dimensions for this gravesite were described in George Washington’s will. He was initially buried in the old tomb, but it was in such disrepair that Washington wanted a new tomb constructed and the remains of the family moved into it. The new tomb wasn’t completed until 32 years after his death (1831), while the sarcophagi weren’t completed until 1837. Most prominent are the graves of George and Martha, with the rest of the family in the vault behind them. It’s an impressive site.

Martha Reading

Martha Reading

We arrived in time to visit with Mrs. Washington. This is always a favorite for us. We first saw this actress in Colonial Williamsburg where she also played Mrs. Washington. She has, in fact, been Mrs. Washington for over twenty years. She’s such a joy to spend time with because she simply embodies Mrs. Washington the way only someone with twenty years of research can do. She posed for portraits, read to the children, and recounted stories of herself and the general. If you get a chance, go see her–it’s well worth it.

After visiting with Mrs. Washington, we went on the slave tour. This tour is free with admission, though you do need to register, and it also was an incredible tour. It seems difficult to picture our founding father as a slave owner, but he was indeed. There were a few very interesting things we learned, however. First, our guide shared with us Washington’s standards for his overseers. His instructions were, “Conduct yourself with integrity, sobriety, industry, and zeal.” Interesting. He also established a system for review that allowed slaves a recourse if they felt they were not being treated correctly. Despite that, most of his slaves worked from “Can see to Can’t see,” extremely long hours in summertime!

Slave quarters

Slave quarters

Another interesting fact was that good treatment did not necessarily ensure a slave would be content. Our guide recounted the story of Washington’s slave Hercules. He was definitely a favored slave–had a velvet coat and a gold tipped cane, and even travelled with the family to Philadelphia. Yet, at the first chance he got, he ran away. I wonder what happened to him. George Washington’s attitude towards slavery also seems to have changed. He and Martha both grew up with slaves; in fact, George was a slave owner at the age of eleven when his father died. It was all he had ever known, so the idea that it was wrong was a foreign concept to him.
Arch under which Robert and Mary Lee got married

Arch under which Robert and Mary Lee got married

Yet, his ideas changed from believing it was wrong to tear families apart to believing it was wrong to sell slaves. He did not tackle the issue of slavery in the white house because of how tenuous the relationship between the states already was, and how firmly the southern states had fought against abolishment in the Continental Congress meetings. He did not want to risk tearing out new country apart. However, in his will, he freed his slaves, which was no small task at the time. His wife, however, did not free hers. Part of that was that her slaves were part of the estate, and freeing them would be the equivalent of giving away the family silver in economic terms of the time. Definitely an interesting tour.

Next, we headed to Arlington. Since Arlington has been under construction the last few times I have visited, I was thrilled to see it up and running–and that they allow you to photograph inside! Here, we heard the beautiful love story of Robert E. Lee and Mary Custis Lee. Robert and Mary had been childhood play mates and teenage friends. He eventually came courting, and apparently asked her to marry him when she reached in the cookie jar for a cookie, and he reached in and took her hand. Her father was initially against their marriage, but with his wife and his daughter in favor of it, he gave in. Robert and Mary were married under the middle arch. He was at West Point at the time, so the couple took up residence there.

Kennedy Memorial and View of Arlington

Kennedy Memorial and View of Arlington

She hated it, and when they returned to Arlington for leave, when his leave was up, he went back, and she stayed. When several weeks past and she still hadn’t returned, a concerned Lee wrote her mother a letter stating, “I seem to have misplaced my wife…” He soon got the news of the reason she had stayed: she was pregnant. While he was away, she also got violently ill and came very close to dying. This close shave made Lee decide Arlington would be their permanent home so she could be cared for while he was away. Mary Lee is an exceptional woman in her own right. A firm proponent of gradual emancipation, Mary taught all of her slave women to read, write, and sew so they would be prepared to support themselves when slavery ended. But, forced to leave Arlington when the war broke out so that she would not worry her husband, she only returned to Arlington once after the war. The Union army had intentionally buried the dead in her rose garden, which boasted eleven varieties of roses. Lee himself would never return.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Having completed our time at the house, we headed down to the Kennedy Memorial (The eternal flame) and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Watching the guard there is a solemn moment indeed. Everything he does is in counts of 21. Twenty-one steps down, turn, wait 21 seconds, twenty-one steps back, repeat. The number twenty-one was chosen for it’s representation of the twenty-one gun salute–the highest miliary honors given a soldier. For me, it is another reminder of the countless stories we have yet to learn and may never know.

Confederate Memorial

Confederate Memorial

We finished off our trip with a trip to the Confederate Memorial and then a visit to my father’s grave. I am blessed beyond measure by his military service and the fact that he is buried at Arlington, a place I so dearly love. Spending the day with such great men who had such real struggles was a vivid reminder of all we have overcome and a call to continue to fight against the evils around us.