July 5th, 2011


Poem for Tuesday and Fort McHenry

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We decided to spend Independence Day at Fort McHenry, where the Star Spangled Banner was flying when Francis Scott Key watched the bombardment and wrote down the lyrics that became our national anthem. I'd never been there before and was expecting a smaller fort, something more barren like Fort Sumter. The fort itself is actually quite large and spacious, with its barracks and storage buildings restored with exhibits about both the War of 1812 and the Civil War -- the cannons aimed at the Patapsco River date from that conflict, then the fort served as a hospital and training station during the World Wars. Because July 4th was an important holiday in early America, the fort had reenactors firing cannons, playing music, teaching historic games, and reading the Declaration of Independence aloud to a crowd that cheered the statements of rights and booed the King's misdeeds.

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We had gone to the fort with my parents and we went out to dinner with them at California Pizza Kitchen late in the afternoon (we were all hungry after being in the sun all afternoon and the restaurant closed at 6 for the holiday). Then we came home and watched A Capitol Fourth, mostly because we wanted to see Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers playing banjo (I liked Josh Groban's version of Paul Simon's "America" and thought Kelli O'Hara and Matthew Morrison did "Tonight" sweetly if blandly, but my adored Jimmy Smits has had much too much Botox, he can't even move his eyebrows). The DC fireworks show is long and lovely and better in person, but it can take two hours to get home from it and Daniel is having his wisdom teeth out bright and early Tuesday morning so it was not an option.