The City of Brotherly Love gets much of the attention when it comes to the history of the United States’ founding. True, Philly did serve as the capital and the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And today, you can get up close to the Liberty Bell or visit the Museum of the American Revolution. But the surrounding suburbs of Philadelphia played an important role, too. Crucial battles were fought in some of these areas. But it was the battle of a different kind that makes Valley Forge Park worth visiting.
The main road that cuts through Valley Forge Park is one I travel very frequently. And I knew there was a monument just off to the one side but I’d never taken a close look. When I pulled into the parking lot during my recent trip to the park, I noticed the statue overlooking the valley. As I got closer, I fell in love with the details on the monument: the spurs, the leather work, the facial expression. The statue in question is that of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. And needless to say, I was shocked when I found that the information plaque in front of him had a button to hear audio that was both in English and in German. I took some (terrible) video.
Sometimes it’s the things in your own backyard, so to speak, that you don’t pay attention to. I hadn’t been to Valley Forge National Historic Park since…I couldn’t even tell you when but it’s been a long time. While the park has a pretty busy road running straight through the middle, it’s part park and part historic site. That’s what I love about it. On one side of the road it’s mini vans with license plates from far away. Meanwhile while I was strolling around by the National Memorial Arch I saw a few people who hadn’t taken their work badges off during their lunch break. And after all, who can blame them as it was a beautiful day.