Posts Tagged With: history

Preparing for future elections with America’s national parks

I visited Mount Rushmore National Monument on a 2009 road trip across the country, where I met up with two friends from Vietnam and one from Lithuania who had come to the U.S. for the summer. Our decisions as American voters have impacts on the rest of the world, and I hope we make choices that benefit those within our borders as well as on foreign shores.

I visited Mount Rushmore National Monument on a 2009 road trip across the country, where I met up with two friends from Vietnam and one from Lithuania who had come to the U.S. for the summer. Our decisions as American voters have impacts on the rest of the world, and I hope we make choices that benefit those within our borders as well as on foreign shores.

Over the past year, I’ve journeyed back and forth across the U.S., exploring big cities, small towns and some really obscure destinations, but primarily using America’s national parks as the anchor points for my travels. As this year’s election has approached, it’s become more and more apparent to me how relevant our parks are to many of the issues currently at stake, and after absorbing several dozens of parks’ worth of information on our country’s people and history, I felt much more equipped to vote with confidence and conviction today.

America’s national parks don’t just provide brilliant backdrops for our vacation photos; they tell the story of our nation and its place in the world, and they provide insight on how we became the country we are now. I’m not just talking about the big parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, although those do have a lot to teach us. I’m talking about lesser-known but still monumentally significant parks like Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas, which reveals personal stories of the fight for integrated schools, and Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington, which dives into the difficult decisions and actions behind the development of the nuclear weapons that ended World War II, and Boston National Historical Park in Massachusetts, which gives insight on the reasons why America decided to separate from Britain and how much they were willing to sacrifice for freedom.

Our 413 national parks each share a different piece of our story, and they offer the benefit of hindsight on historical events and give us information so we can each determine how we might have acted under similar circumstances. They don’t tell us what to think; they tell us what to think about. And they give us context that can help us make better decisions for our world and its future. Continue reading

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Categories: Adventure, National Parks road trip, Outdoor Recreation, Parks, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Historic timber buildings — tell me your story!

Originially published on TimberHomeNation.com on March 16, 2010.

Last night, I went to an Altan concert at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in nearby Vienna, Virginia. The concert was phenomenal — Altan is the world’s preeminent traditional Irish music group, and between Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s pure soprano and the entire band’s incredible talents on the fiddle, guitar, accordion and bouzouki, it was one of those rare experiences where the music seems to become much more than the sum of each of the players’ individual contributions.

I was expecting a great show, and I got that in spades, but I was pleasantly surprised with the venue where the concert was held. Wolf Trap has a great outdoor amphitheater for summer shows, but for year-round events, it has The Barns.

Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

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Categories: Timber Home Living | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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