Day Eight: Thursday July 4. Independence Day! For me this was the most special July 4th ever! Not only was I in America but I also was consciously aware of having once been Robert Magaw and heavily involved in the Birth of the United States. As if to celebrate this the universe had lent a hand and diverted the US Army Field Band to come an play at the Carroll Valley celebrations and fireworks Cathe was really excited about it all so I decided not to go living history that day but to dedicate this auspicious set of coincidences to Cathe, Rick and 1776! I was not to be disappointed for it would exceed my expectations in everything that is good about America.
After a short half hour drive south west on the 116 from Gettysburg we arrived at the idyllic mid town rural American community of Carroll Valley near Emmitsburg. The scenery was outstanding and even more so when i learnt that they ha a ski slope on the near by mountain from the top of which would host the fireworks! I was just like England in the sun with skiing in winter!!! Awesome
For the first time in my life I really consciously felt I belonged to Pennsylvania, it was me home and had been for 52 years back in the 18th century. I knew it was going to get very emotional but I wasn't prepared foe how quickly that would set in.
As we drove into the event i was bowled over with the very homely English school fete atmosphere and charm of it all. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies and the warm heat of an early summers evening bathe my body sensuously.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/519d97bf89ff9f64c7eb747c14805bed.jpghttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/02b87998c2e7ba786f6e50d44bc89dd6.jpg
I felt like a small kid that had received all his Christmas Holidays at once! This was reinforced by the sight of a couple of classic cars. A 1950s Chevy with chromed engine.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/c8818fccc3874e25cc3f95198934da1d.jpghttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/f2018bb5c95946b65cfcc72790e7876c.jpg
Followed by a Ford "Woody" pick up which hailed from the 1920s.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/2b89a9436dc8834e8ca750515518c42a.jpghttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/332852ce9e3c5a8fb89694cb4144f6e3.jpg
Moving on we walked around the community grounds taking in the ambience. Rick seemed to know just about everybody as he was a reporter and then Editor of the Gettysburg Times newspaper for many years.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/e3fb544f858f0bff4901ae8a2c3170f2.jpghttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/2ec0c9c61aa3b6473f3d90831b06de4b.jpghttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/9d015d0648c50b89aeb3d98776e2e951.jpg
I sported my Ron Jon, Coco Beach Florida surf hat complete with faux ponytail! I had bought it back in the 90s when we visited Florida many times. It never failed to get a laugh and now I had a Civil War goatee to match it. I felt just like a US Army veteran and indeed I was in two past lives!http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/e0c5bf008c170b08d513cf1b5739e80e.jpg
Getting into the holiday spirit I bought Cathe an ice cream for being such a great host! I think the photo says it all!http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/ed1e50de7bde59f614b375333915d398.jpghttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/99f44670263bfdf82753d256654fd0c0.jpg
Finally we took our seats for the US Army Field Band ready to enjoy their concert! It was a privilege to see and hear them in action. It was due entirely to the Government cutbacks that they were not on a foreign tour and so had volunteered to play locally.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/81f15f51daee76167ffc0d530a7161e6.jpg
I videoed the opening and the Star Spangled banner. All too quickly the concert was over and darkness fell. The fireworks followed from the top of the nearby mountain and completed the perfect evening. The whole experience was extremely moving and never to be forgotten. Thank you Rick and Cathe for making it all possible! Without your help none of this would have been possible.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/249/078ccfc0b695707091f396268820b109.jpg
Even the Smoky Bear Ranger sign on the way out stirred emotions within me of watching Yogi Bear when I was very young!