Often times it is delightful to play tourist in your own neighborhood, and rather easy to postpone visits if one is close. I live in an area that is rich in American history, and am finally taking advantage of it.
Two weeks ago, a replica of the French Tall Ship Hermione visited Alexandria, Va. Docked at the waterfront, it gave tourists and locals alike an idea of what life was like in the late 18th Century. Not only were people allowed to board the ship, but crew dressed in period garb walked about and gave lectures on the culture, exhibited the navigation available at the time, even clothes worn at the time.
A living breathing taste of history, the kind that stays with you. The kind that makes you want to pick up a book and read more about it. The amazing rigging, the heights the sailors needed to reach to sail the ship, looked terrifying to me, yet it was a matter of routine for sailors of the time, and I might add for the crew aboard the replica as well.
The original ship sailed from France in 1780 bringing the Marquis de Lafayette to American shores to deliver a message to George Washington. Lafayette, the French military leader fought in the American Revolutionary War, and became an American hero. His efforts on behalf of the revolution are legendary, and many books have been written about his life. The exhibition brought the remarkable life of the adventurous Marquis to the forefront.
It took twenty years to build the replica, and it is on tour to celebrate the building of the ship, and to celebrate the momentous history that brought Lafayette to America.
To actually glimpse a bygone lifestyle, touch the clothes, imagine how difficult the life was, the hardships people endured and survived, and moved forward under extreme duress. That is something that should be cherished and never forgotten. That is history remembered.
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