By Allan Wall, June 9, 2021
Today our American heritage is under attack.
Statues and monuments are brought down, place names are questioned, and we are told that America is a specially evil country.
Our education system, from pre-school to university, has a lot to answer for.
Too many young Americans bear a hatred for their American heritage. They lack an appreciation for the nation which has brought them so many benefits.
It’s one of several reasons why some parents decide to homeschool.
Whether you homeschool or not, on the family level there is much we can already do to inculcate an appreciation of American history and heritage.
For one thing, consider family vacations.
On a vacation, people want a break from the routine. They may enjoy sporting activities such as skiing, or relaxing in an exotic locale.
Amidst such activities, we should also include American history in family vacations.
The great thing about American history is it’s all over the U.S.A. It’s in every state and region. It’s right where you live.
There is much to see in the original 13 English colonies, the first 13 states, on the Atlantic seaboard.
You can pass through the Appalachian region and the Rocky Mountains.
America’s great cities are worth seeing.
American rivers and lakes have much history. There is the vast Mississippi/Missouri/Ohio system, and the Columbia river on the west coast.
Then there is the rich farmland of the Midwest, which has been called “the most productive agricultural civilization the world has ever seen.”
Tourists can visit pre-Columbian ruins and American Indian sites. They can visit the old Wild West.
All over the U.S. there are museums of various sorts, battlefields, famous buildings, houses of historical figures, trails, and natural scenery. And so forth and so on. All of these places have histories.
When you visit such places with your children you can discuss the historical occurrences and developments that took place there, why they are important, and how they affect us today.
We needn’t shy away from discussing negative occurrences in American history. All history contains conflict, struggle, injustice, and failure.
But we have to look at past historical eras in historical context, not just as a melodrama seen through 2021 glasses.
We need to understand how problems and challenges were dealt with, and how they were resolved. In doing so we can appreciate our forebears and our heritage.
In short, vacations can be opportunities to inculcate an appreciation of American history.
Remember too, it’s not just what you see on your destination, it’s also what you see en route.
Our family generally takes one route to our destination and another route back. That way you see more.
Our family’s latest trip included a visit to the Cumberland Gap (pictured). Our 18-year old son proposed visiting it. You see, when the kids get older, they themselves can contribute in vacation planning.
Why is the Cumberland Gap so important in American history ?
It’s where Daniel Boone, in the 1700s, led pioneers through a gap in the Appalachians to settle in Kentucky. This kicked off a great movement, bringing Americans west of the Appalachians and eventually to the Pacific coast.
Consider – if the westward movement hadn’t taken place, the American nation might have existed only on the eastern seaboard.
So if you live west of the Appalachians, you owe a lot to Daniel Boone and the Cumberland Gap.
When we visited the Cumberland Gap, we took a walking trail up to the actual gap.
Near the Cumberland Gap is a marker showing where Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky come together.
Below the Cumberland Gap is a small town, itself called Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. We stayed in a hotel there called, appropriately, the Cumberland Gap Inn.
The Cumberland Gap is impressive, especially when you understand and appreciate its importance in American history.
So I recommend that on your next family vacation, you include some American history. Maybe you already do.
But if you don’t, get out a map and start planning for some American history on your next vacation!
Allan is scheduled to be interviewed on Chuck Wilder’s Talkback Show, Thurs., June 10th, at 1 p.m. EST; noon CT.
Click here to listen.