Thursday, August 28, 2014

Boston Uncommon

     The road less traveled eventually led back to a major highway and a big city.  The jagged coast that caught the pilgrims so long ago gave way to the harbor and bustle of Boston.  Our journey through history that began in Gettysburg, led us to Valley Forge, wandered the streets of Williamsburg, paused in awe at the Liberty Bell, and even fired antique cannons from the cliffs of Fort Lee, now brought us to the beginning of it all, the site of the Boston Tea Party.
     There, sitting in the harbor, are two replicas of the ships that were raided on that fateful night in December as part of a new museum dedicated to this revolutionary history.  The experience is not an all together long one, easily visited in a short afternoon, but is well worth the visit.  As we approached the museum we were greeted by period-garbed Revolutionaries attracting a crowd with their indignant cries of improper taxation.  Once inside more re-enactors circulated feathers among the participants of the town hall meeting so that we may wear them as a disguise for when we raided the ships.  In the dark of the mid-afternoon we would assume the appearance of an Indian raiding party.  Along with our disguises we were given small cards depicting our true identities as New Englanders, Bostonians, soon-to-be Americans, and forgotten Revolutionaries.  And soon we come face to face with Sam Adams, patriot.
     Riled by the town meeting and the rhetoric of Sam Adams, we storm out of the town hall and out onto the deck of the ships in the harbor and proceed to toss crates of tea into Boston harbor.  We explore the small merchant ship and huzzah at our criminal mischief.  Disembarking from the ship we come to a plaque memorializing all the participants of the protest.  Looking to our ID cards, we are able to find our names on the plaque and read the history and background of that person.  The rest of the museum is back inside with cool holograms and talking paintings and a short movie chronicling the beginning of the war with England that would lead to our country's independence.  We retire upstairs to take tea in a colonial tea room along with a small pastry and reflect on our civil disobedience.
     With today's classrooms concentrating more and more on the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic in order to meet quotas and deadlines and state-mandated test scores; with more detailed subjects like history, and the literary, artistic, and scientific milestones contained therein, being glossed over with only the broadest of strokes, I (perhaps in my older age) have become acutely aware of many gaps in my children's education, especially when it comes to how we as a country, as a society, as a government, as Americans have come to be in the 21st century.  I will not allow my family to go blindly into life to form opinions without a thought to the history that has made this country great and the hardened men and women that have laid the foundation for us all.  And so we pack up the truck and head further down the road into history, smiling with a feather in our cap.

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