Friday, April 9, 2010

Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania

During our Easter trip to Pennsylvania, we visited beautiful historic Valley Forge National Park. "Valley Forge was the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army. The park commemorates the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation and honors the ability of citizens to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times." Source - Valley Forge National Historical Park

It was a perfect day for walking around and taking in the beautiful landscape and historic sites. Our first stop was the Washington Memorial Chapel. This early 20th-century church commemorates George Washington's service to his country, and still hosts an active congregation.


Beautiful architecture and intricate details fill the church. The remembrance of soldiers, love for God and country and emphasis on prayer is prevalent throughout the chapel.  

I especially love the vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. It reminds of sitting in Art History class, learning about Gothic architecture and cathedrals.

I also like the Intricate doors and elaborate hardware. Everything is so grand and fancy.

The most breathtaking magnolia tree I have ever seen, grows next to the chapel. The branches are heavy laden with gorgeous pale pink blossoms.

We posed for a photo next to an old cannon. I can't imagine loading those things!

We saw the train station, which is where George Washington had his headquarters.

Nice little old typewriter. 

George Washington's house was really interesting to see. I was surprised at how "modern" it looked on the inside, having many windows, a couple of bedrooms with connecting doors to each other, a small twisting staircase to an attic, where the house staff stayed. The kitchen was separate from the main part of the house. However, I did not see a bathroom...

These primitive log cabin replicas, are where soldiers lived. Dirt floors, tiny cramped bunk beds stacked 3 high (some 12 to a cabin), a fireplace and a door. I can't believe they lived in these, through the winter, for 6 months! I wouldn't last 6 hours. It makes you really appreciate what they went through for the freedom we are able to enjoy.

I like the quaint little country houses, with their stone bordered yards and steps. What a different way of life they lived.

Lastly, my favorite magnolia blossom photo. I just love these flowers! I didn't realize how big they are or how large the trees can grow. I would love to have one in my yard some day. 

When you're in junior high, and you have to learn about American history, it's not very interesting. At least it wasn't for me. You hear stories, learn facts and memorize dates. Maybe for some, fighting in a battle sounds exciting. History never excited me when I was growing up. Now however, I am so interested in learning what people went through, the sacrifices they made, and what life was like. Seeing a historic place like Valley Forge brings it to life and makes you think differently. About people, freedom and America. What's really worth fighting for. What it means to be an American. How blessed we are as a nation. How far we have come from the values this country was founded on.

May we continue to be "One Nation Under God."

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