Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Our First Day in South Carolina

Each year, my family and I try to visit a state that we have not yet experienced.  This year, the state of choice was South Carolina.  Not only are we enjoying the beaches of Myrtle Beach, but there is so much history to be shared in this genteel southern state.

Our first visit, we took a a two-hour road trip to the Mt. Pleasant/Charleston area and visited Fort Sumter and the USS Yorktown, along with the "Vietnam Experience," an exhibit located outside near the big aircraft carrier.

To get to Fort Sumter, we had to take a ferry from the Charleston Harbor to the fort.  The first shots of the Civil War happened at Fort Sumter in 1861.  They surrendered 34 hours later.  You can still see some of the original brick walls and, as you walk through the entrance of the fort, there is an original cannon to your right.  Later, a new blockhouse installation was built, called "Battery Huger," named after Isaac Huger. The trip was a quick one and you had to hurry through the fort before reloading on the ferry.  Then, onto the next tour.

Photos of Fort Sumter, including original cannon.

An interesting fact regarding the USS Yorktown: 70% of those who built this mammoth ship in 1943 were women and it was built quicker than anticipated.

She is named after the Battle of Yorktown and not only participated in World War II, but the Vietnam War, as well, and was used as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 mission.  She was also used in the making of the movies Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Philadelphia Experiment. 

Also, located inside the ship, is the Medal of Honor Museum.  Though it was interesting in itself, what really brought me to tears was the passion of those who received this honor.  Their tears were real and the patriotism surpassed anything I have seen today.

Our visit to the USS Yorktown. 

After we left the ship, we then followed the trail to the "Vietnam Experience." Though it was on a smaller scale, you can still get a feel of the environment those men lived in and the question of whether they would live to see another in any war.  The dog tags of those South Carolinians that lined the wall on hooks brought tears to my eyes.  I've known several Vietnam veterans and my heart breaks for the trauma they have suffered. They increased the ambiance by providing "sound effects," helicopter blades whirring and explosions going off at random.

The "Vietnam Experience."

When we left, I felt appreciative of those who have given their all for this great country and for those who are serving yet today.  Because of their sacrifice, we have the freedoms we enjoy today.  What a great experience it was!

I recommend a visit to these places, if you ever have the chance. You won't be disappointed, especially if you have a passion for history. 

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