The citizens of the United States are very patriotic, with many holidays celebrating the triumph of democracy and major events in the nation’s fight for freedom. As a result, there are numerous locations in the country which capitalize on or immortalize these events, individuals, or places. As we approach the Fourth of July, perhaps the most patriotic of these holidays, let us reflect upon a number of these locations and their contribution to the atmosphere of patriotism which sweeps the country at this time. My choices for the best of these places are listed below. A photo album will follow shortly.
1. Washington, DC – America’s capital has so many patriotic places that I feel it must be listed as a single entity. Everywhere one looks in the city are reminders of its history and proud heritage. A few of the standouts are the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, The White House and the National Archives.
2. Statue of Liberty, New York, NY – Probably the most recognized symbol of freedom and known throughout the world as a representations of the ideals of the American democracy, this icon sits in the middle of New York harbor and is the backdrop for an annual fireworks display on July 4th.
3. Independence Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA – The "Old Town" of Philadelphia, which witnessed so many of the events of America’s fight for freedom from England, contains the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, two of the most important symbols of this struggle.
4. USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii – The scene of one of America’s darkest days, December 7, 1941, this memorial oozes patriotism, recalling deeds of valor and an event which launched the US into World War II, the greatest war in the history of Western Civilization.
5. The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas – This small, decrepit mission immortalizes a symbolic, futile struggle against great odds which captures the American spirit of liberty at all costs. Extremely sacred to Texans, this somber location where American heroes like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie lost their lives has become another symbol of the nation.
6. Ground Zero, Lower Manhattan, New York, NY – Another location where a mortal blow was struck against liberty, the place where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center rose in glory was instantly transformed on September 11, 2001 into a sacred burial ground for the thousands who lost their lives to a surprise terrorist attack.
7. Freedom Trail, Boston, MA – Boston is another city which featured prominently in America’s revolution against England. The many sights in the city where elements of this struggle took place are accessible on this walk through the oldest section of the city. Places, such as, the Old North Church, City Hall, and Bunker Hill, can be visited along the way.
8. Gettysburg National Battlefield, Gettysburg, PA – The scene of the greatest battle of the Civil War, and also a turning point in the struggle, any visit to Gettysburg allows the visitor to become immersed in this most embarassing and destructive war in American History.
9. Mount Rushmore, Black Hills, South Dakota – This huge sculpture of four of America’s greatest presidents has come to symbolize the permanence of democracy and the stature of some of its most significant individuals.
10. Arlington Memorial Cemetery, Arlinton, VA – This vast expanse of military gravestones represents the enormous cost of liberty over the years. The hallowed ground is a somber reminder of the sacrifices required in a world filled with struggle and disagreement.
Other sites considered:
Gateway Arch, St Louis, MO
Fort Sumter, Charleston, SC
Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD
Stone Mountain, Atlanta, GA