We are a road-tripping family. Our boys learned to love long car rides early on as we have never lived less than a 15 hour drive to visit family.
Originally we had planned to make the three day drive to attend our 20th high school reunion (gasp!) back home but with all the flooding going on there we decided to postpone that trip until next summer.
Suddenly we had no plans for the fourth. We looked at the map and threw an imaginary dart. It landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The perfect place to learn about the beginning of the United Stated of America! Since my husband had work in DC on the 5th , we extended our trip to include the fireworks in Washington DC on the 4th.
Philadelphia is a beautiful mix of old and new buildings. We began in the Historic District where we toured Independence Hall.
It was in these rooms that the First Continental Congress met in 1774 to discuss ways to respond to the actions of the British Parliament.
At these tables sat representatives from each of the 13 colonies. It is known for certain that George Washington himself sat in the chair still located at the head table.
At this table sat John Adams. An eerie shadow cast by the tour guide at first glance resembles Mr. Adams' ghost!
Housed inside this gorgeous building is the original Declaration of Independence.
It is humbling to realize that these men were risking their lives by inking their names to this piece of paper.
It is one thing to declare independence and quite another to achieve it against the greatest world power at that time.
I loved the hand-written notes along the margins even though I couldn't read what they said.
This statement by Pope Benedict XVI reminded me of the signers of the Declaration.
It is becoming ever clearer that only moral values and strong convictions, and sacrifices, make it possible to live and to build the world. If there is no moral force in souls, if there is no readiness to suffer for these values, a better world is not built; indeed, on the contrary, the world deteriorates every day, selfishness dominates and destroys all.
from Benedictus : Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI
Who are the political leaders today that have the backbone and vision of the men of the First Continental Congress? I pray that Americans still have the strength of conviction to prevent the total deterioration of the freedoms that this document is meant to provide.
A statue titled The Signer. I wonder what our founders would think, now, to realize how many other countries around the globe have based their own governments upon their daring experiment.
Our brave forefathers were men of faith and this beautiful church was one where many of them are known to have worshiped.
The slabs on the ground are burial sites of seven of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, including Ben Franklin.
The Liberty Bell.
No trip to Philly would be complete without running up the Rocky Steps. Notice the wedding party at the top!
View of Philadelphia from the top of the steps.
Even though there was a lot of walking the boys loved the visit.
Most of the time! (Just keeping it real!)
See Part 2: a trip down the oldest residential street in America
See Part 3: a visit to Amish country.