Thursday, May 12, 2016

Fort McHenry

Here we go. I apologize in advance because I know it's going to look like I just uploaded the camera straight to this post. There will be a million pictures. If you're not a history buff and could care less, feel free to skip ahead or behind or whatever; my feelings won't be hurt, but let me say this- I am not a history fan by any stretch of the imagination. That said, this fort was cool and the story behind it was cool and fact that we could take the boys there? Awesome.

There's something about actually being there that makes history be interesting in a way simply reading about it rarely does. That was an awkward sentence, sorry. It was fascinating to hear about the British trying to take over Baltimore when you're actually looking out over the harbor and your guide is passionate and asking you questions to make you actually think about how it all went down. She was great with audience participation, right down to picking a random woman and telling her she was someone in charge and what should she do? The lady, a good sport with about as much historical knowledge as any of the rest of us, shrugged helplessly with a little laugh and said, "I don't know!" The guide laughed and said, "he didn't either! He was used to directioning battalions and tons of men and here he was, out of his element and nothing was going right!" It really gave it a personal feel that I never got while I read it in a Social Studies textbook.

On our way in, we got distracted by beautiful trees and a statue, and yes, okay, I had to take a bum shot for Carrie...

Remember, you can click on any picture to see it in a larger, easier to decipher form.

The boys were up and down every step, on every rampart, on every possible level, and into every open building. I can't even imagine how many miles we walked around this fort. I know that for the handful of days that we were in Baltimore, I walked at least 14,000 steps every day according to my fitbit, and a good many of them were chasing the boys here!

I'm not sure if it was the ages they are right now or simply the fact that they're boys, but this was all right up their alley!

This was Liam on guard duty. This is a duck, off duty.

Of course. What was I thinking? Cannons and cannonballs.

And then, wonder of all wonders, we got to help with the changing of the flag. It was truly a sight to behold, one Liam couldn't wait to jump into action for and one Damon wanted nothing to do with:

For those of you who have forgotten or were never aware, Fort McHenry is the spot where Francis Scott Key penned "The Star-Spangled Banner". While we were wandering around the fort, reading about the flag, it made me think of all those times you hear "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the Olympics when the athletes are being awarded. I thought how neat it would be if somehow someone could film a tiny clip of the cliffnotes of the story about the battle, the fort, the flag, the writing of the anthem to then show viewers during the next Olympics. I'd be interested to hear how nations have chosen their national anthems and what all the circumstances were behind the writing of them. It would sure beat commercials! The song is one we often take for granted, but now that I've seen this humungous flag and the fort, I know I'll think more about what it cost.

Sadly, the fort had to close for the night, so we got back on our shuttle bus.

And then there was a little of this:

And a lot of this: