This week, I have been spending time in Pennsylvania with my children and husband. It’s Spring break for the kids and normally we spend time in the Cape during their week off but this year, we decided to come to Hershey and spend this time neck deep in chocolate.
The week isn’t over yet but I had to share thoughts on the historic portion of our trip. I have been to PA a few times before but I have never seen it as I have this week. First, we visited Valley Forge and walked on the train platform where Washington crossed the Delaware and the home that he made his winter camp. Next we spent the day in Philly, and we learned more about our constitution and my daughter learned more about her beloved Alexander Hamilton.
The most impactful part of our trip, for me, has been learning more about the Amish and visiting the area of the war at Gettysburg. I was fortunate to visit the battlefield of Culloden in Scotland last October. I was filled with appreciation for those who gave their lives for others and for the future. The battle at Gettysburg was similar but more close to my heart. It made me think about how different my life would be if the confederates had won. Everything happens for a reason and I am most appreciative that those soldiers gave their lives so that people like me can have freedoms of those who first freely immigrated to this great country. It reminded me that though things are not where we want them to be but because of the brave, they are not as they used to be. I am also reminded that we all must be brave for the rights of all.
This brings me to my final thoughts– the Amish. Most everyone knows one thing or another about the Amish. Seeing the Amish community up close has changed my life. The Amish are a beautiful group of people. I am amazed that they have managed to keep their way of life all the while, sharing friendships and interactions with the outside world and who they call “English.” It made me wish that we, the outside world, could have an ounce of the values of the Amish. For example, the settlers of Pennsylvania used to speak Pennsylvania Dutch. I met a man who had to be at least sixty who told me that he father spoke Pennsylvania Dutch but he doesn’t know it.
The language is lost and the people in Pennsylvania who are around my age may shockingly not even know what it is. The Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch every day and the children learn an old German dialect in school. It moves me because I would have loved to know my ancestors’ African dialects. My past is gone and I may never know the closeness of traditions. The beauty of the Amish is that they don’t restrict life because modernization and conveniences goes against traditions but based on how those conveniences impact their family, community and/or religion. What a beautiful way to live.
How different would life be if we all stopped to think about how our actions affect our family, community and/or religion?
Link to our historic pics