"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

18 February 2011

The post I was going to post....

For those who read my previous post, it is now set as "draft." If you want it, email me... I'll put it back in a few days.

But I hate it when I sit down to blog something and nonsense that is in my inbox usurps my thoughts. So here is the post I originally sat down to post.


Tourists at home.
One thing that's nice about homeschooling is that we get to actually dig into history, the stuff we were supposed to learn in school but either ignored or forgot. Or both. And the best history is history that happens in places where you are. There's not a square inch of this earth that doesn't have some sort of history to it, but the big recorded stuff has few landmarks.

My middle child is studying the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. It seemed a good idea to go visit Fort Pitt. Kind of like paying homage I guess, but we loaded up some friends and went into town. A beautiful day for it here in Pittsburgh, windy but sunny on the Point of the three rivers. And really the wind was fun. We made "I'm flying" jokes all the way from the parking garage. February and there wasn't a bit of snow left. February and blue skies. February and sixty degrees.

Somehow we managed to miss the more authentic Fort in February experience we were expecting.

Fort Pitt has a nice little museum. A well designed walk-through with dioramas and mock fort rooms and cannons (lots of them) everywhere. An awesome spot of local history; and it was totally and completely empty. My kids got plenty of elbow room, the video presentations were all ours, and no lines no waiting. Pittsburgh seems to have totally missed out on its own claim to historic fame.

That's the thing; we usually visit all the historic sites while on vacation, but nobody plays tourist in their own home town. We make fun of tourists sometimes, but we forget that there is such thing as the academic tourist, not visiting to shop and gawk but to learn and grow. And we miss the chance to learn and grow without leaving home.

The curator at the Fort Pitt Blockhouse gave us the historic tour. We got to chat with her and ask questions. Some how we got to talking about how nobody visits the local sites. She remarked that many people she knew had never even heard of Fort Pitt, locals, Pittsburghers, until she took this job. Don't they know that our city was the linchpin of the Mississippi? That the importance of controlling the middle of the mighty river which was controlled at North and South by the French was a deciding point in American history? Do they not understand that it was the cost of this war that spurred the taxes from Britain that sparked the Revolutionary War? That our humble hometown was a supply center between the Revolutionary war-front and the whole rest of the American frontier? No, I guess they don't.

But perhaps history would not feel so far off and sterile if they walked the grounds, looked through the slits of the redoubts in mock gunfire, walked the paved outlines of the fort walls, pointed out the confluence of the Rivers to their kids, and ran their fingers across a real cannon.

Another thing I noted was that the cannons themselves were most of them artistically designed. They weren't just killing machines, they were iron cast works of art with fleur de lys and coats of arms and images and art. To touch them is to touch the work of an artist past, who knew his work would be grave indeed. To touch them is to touch a world gone by where war had rules and gentlemen had honor and beauty was tangible even in battle. To touch them is to admit our land was won by fighting dirty and to wonder how that has shaped us into who we are and if we're wholly better for it.

But if you don't walk the roads of history even just when it happens across your own path, then how will you know where you came from, and how will you admit who you are?

1 comment:

  1. Amen, Tara. A worthy reflection on a day well spent! Glad we could spend it with you. If I ever have a chance to blog again (it's been that kind of week/month) I may link to this.