Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Wish they taught history like this when we were growing up.

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The 'epicenter' of our country, where it all began.

The ‘epicenter’ of our country, where it all began.


Did you know the birthplace of our country was not in Plymouth Massachusetts? Me either. Or if I knew I’d certainly forgotten. (Click on any picture to make it larger and more clear.)

Today we visited Jamestown, where the English landed in 1607, and the location of their first successful settlement. They attempted four other settlements in years prior at other locations, but each of those failed.

Captain Smith faces the James river at what was once the front entrance to the fort.

Captain Smith faces the James river at what was once the front entrance to the fort.

Jamestown was settled in 1607 as a business venture because the English had heard there were riches to be had in America. The settlers were immediately and continually attacked by the local Indians and by the winter of 1608 were without food in brutal cold. Many died, and by the next spring less than 60 survived.

Archeologists finally found the original fort in the mid-90s after decades of attempts.  They are still digging.

Archeologists finally found the original fort in 1992 after decades of attempts. They are still digging.

This is the fort where Pocahontas and John Smith met. She did, in fact, save his life, but she did not have a romantic relationship with him, despite what Disney says. She brought food to the fort during the long winter, and ended up marrying John Rolf and moving to London where she died young, and where she is buried.

The brick tower of the church is the only original structure left and dates from the mid 17th century.

The brick tower of the church is the only original structure left and dates from the mid 17th century.

Our docent at Jamestown reminded us that if this settlement had not survived England would likely not have tried again. The area would have been settled eventually, but most likely by Spain, or possibly France. Our country would not have existed were it not for these few surviving settlers.

Our docent spent an hour and a half telling us about the history here.

He spent an hour and a half telling us about the history here.

Kind of makes you think doesn’t it.

Later in the day we learned the history, just up the road, of the 1781 battle at Yorktown which ended the American Revolution. The British were camped there, led by a very strong and successful Lieutenant General, Charles Cornwallis. General George Washington, in conjunction with French Allies, had far fewer troops than the British, but beat them at Yorktown, in part because they had larger artillery and cannons.

"FIRE!"

“FIRE!”

It’s a much longer and more complicated story than that, but it comes down to the fact that we had the bigger guns. We got to watch a 24 pound cannon be fired at the Yorktown Visitor Center. It was pretty impressive.

The ranger says that while the battle of Yorktown didn't end the war, nothing significant happened after, so essentially it was this surrender of the British that gave The United States independence.

The ranger says that while the battle of Yorktown didn’t end the war, nothing significant happened after, so essentially it was this surrender of the British that gave The United States independence.

Then we drove a bit to the Moore House where the terms of surrender were worked out between the British and us. It’s a pretty little house with a long lawn down to the James River. It wasn’t open when we were there but I enjoyed walking down to the river to see the view.

Where details of the British surrender were worked out.

Where details of the British surrender were worked out.

Yesterday we were in Colonial Williamsburg, and while we were there we toured a bit of the College of William and Mary. I’ve got lots of photos, and it’s going to be hard to choose which to show you.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Today was Mother’s Day, and I’ve associated mockingbirds with my mom for many years. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, there were several mockingbirds flitting about most of the day, especially at James Fort.

Hey mom!  We had such a pretty day today!

Hey mom! We had such a pretty day today!

Somehow I think my mom was exploring right along side of us.

Tonight we’re on the ocean at Virginia Beach. I’m listening to the ocean waves as I sort photos. Retirement is good.

Stay tuned.

The British were here.

The British were here.

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

6 thoughts on “Wish they taught history like this when we were growing up.

  1. History is far more interesting when we are more experienced (a kinder way of saying older)I teach 8th grade history and most of my students just want to know what’s on the test. There are a few who get it, but getting happens later when they’ve acquired a bit more background knowledge of what happened and they’re ready for the why it happened. There are the rare days when I have them, but those are rare days. It’s not every day you get to see a 24 pound cannon go off… have a great week.

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  2. Living history is so much more vibrant than what you read in books 🙂

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  3. Yes, I agree with Reilly-Denny. It means more when you are where it happened, and it means more when you are learning because you choose to.

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  4. My French Canadian family always grumbled in the Winter time that our great forefather, Jacques Cartier, was an idiot. When he arrived in North America, it was a buffet. He could have chosen anywhere to stick his flag– like Florida, for example. Nope, he stuck it on the shores of the St. Lawrence. Idiot.

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