"Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are
descended from immigrants and revolutionists"
Franklin D. Roosevelt
State 3: Virginia - June 15th
We woke up in a Williamsburg, VA Walmart well rested and ready to seize the day! On the agenda today was to tour the Jamestown settlement, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Revolutionary War Battlegrounds of Yorktown. Unfortunately, we had only allotted one day to see all three sites, so our agenda proved to be a tad ambitious. We agreed that 2 out of the 3 sites were more feasible, and we started at Jamestown, VA.
As children in 3rd grade, many were incorrectly taught the first European settlers in America were the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. The G rated version the story being that they landed on Plymouth rock, had Thanksgiving dinner with the Indians and all was well in the world! Sorry to be the one to pop your utopic bubble, but the first European settlers were not the Pilgrims. The first European settlers were the inhabitants of Jamestown, VA in 1607, and no one in 17th century Jamestown was passing turkey legs and cranberry sauce around the dinner table. The reality of early days of Jamestown entailed daily hardships, war, disease, famine, drought, and even cannibalism. However, the inhabitants of Jamestown persevered, and their descendants would eventually venture across our entire country in the centuries to come. What makes the story of Jamestown the most interesting, it that the exact location of the settlement was only discovered in 1994. Prior to 1994 it was long and falsely believed that the original location of Jamestown had been forever lost to shoreline erosion. Since 1994, Jamestown has been an active archeological site, and the excavation continues even to the very day we visited. Everyday new artifacts over 410 years old are being unearthed, and adding to our understanding of Jamestown. While we were touring the archeological site, they dug up a belt buckle and a 400-year-old child’s toy that was made of copper and believed to be a windmill! We did get to see where John Smith and Pocahontas got married in case you were wondering! Enjoy the pictures of Jamestown, VA.
After leaving the birthplace of our country Jamestown, we felt impelled to visit the Yorktown, VA battlefields where our country won our independence. Yorktown was the site where the British General Cornwallis, surrendered to General Washington, which would lead to the end of the Revolutionary War. In the time of the colonials, Britain was a world super power, and America was a loosely knit 13 colonies that was primarily made up of peasant farmers. When the colonists defeated Great Britain, this was the upset of the century. This would be equivalent to me getting in the ring with Mike Tyson in 1989, and knocking him out in the first round. We had the honor of standing on Surrender Field at twilight, which is pictured. This was the exact location the British army laid down their arms, and Americans won their independence. Also pictured are a few of the actual cannons surrendered by the British.
Next to the visitor’s center was a huge monument erected to commemorate the American Victory at Yorktown, which has a very interesting history as well. 2 years after the Battle of Yorktown, the Continental Congress approved the construction of the monument. Since wheels of government turn slowly, it was not until almost 100 years after the battle in 1880 that the monument was constructed complete with who else but lady liberty on the top! Now get ready for another strange twist. In 1944 while America is engrossed the middle of WW2. Lightening struck the monument which decapitated the head and cut off the hands of lady liberty. It took 15 years to make the necessary repairs. Below are the pictures of the historic sites that enables us to enjoy the freedoms we have today!
After leaving Yorktown, we drove to a Walmart in Virginia Beach to spent the night. It was a very long, hot and exhausting day in our journey, and the last thing we needed was drama about where we would park for the night. We were turned away for the very first time in our journey, and were told we could not sleep in their parking lot. The reason given was Walmart doesn’t allow it! So Lori asked him about the 3 tractor trailers and 2 other vans parked in the lot, and showed him the reviews on line that said parking was permitted at his location. He was a very young and cocky manager who looked freshly promoted. Maybe he was not aware of the rules, or he was just on a power trip. Either way, we decided to leave, and Lori hit the ladies room on her way out. While she was in the bathroom, another Walmart employee who overheard the conversation recommended a Walmart down the street who she knew permitted parking. She thanked her profusely, and we found our new home for the night at a Walmart 2 miles down the road. Tomorrow we are going to enjoy the Virginia beaches we keep hearing about, and then head to the Naval base in Norfolk, VA.