Well, as you may know, our Avis car rental was a fail. We had a confirmed reservation from months ago, and Avis decided to cancel it without even telling us (until we were ready to pick up the car).
Lucky for us, Enterprise had a car available for our entire 11-day schedule, and was happy to accommodate us, even at the last minute. It’s no Chevy Suburban. In fact, it’s a Toyota Camry. But It could be made in an American plant, who knows. Nevertheless, we have a ride and we’re moving on.
We leave town and head south. Google Girl – that’s what I’m calling my cell phone’s Google Map voice assistant – tells us the ride should be 4-1/2 hours.
She was wrong. It was 6-1/2 hours.
Apparently, once we started heading down 95 through New York City area, all sorts of traffic chaos broke out, and even mid-day traffic went from yellow to red everywhere we looked. I’m sure any New Yorker would say ‘this is normal.’ But in a 2017 world, I just don’t understand how we (New Yorkers at least) allow this to be ok.
We let Google Girl select a new path and we manage our way via some curvy, traffic-packed parkways up above The City, over the Tappan Zee Bridge, and back down through New Jersey.
We don’t have a factory to tour today, but we are trying to get to Pennsylvania and see Gettysburg before it gets dark and they close the Battlefield Park.
We drive into the Park about 6pm. It’s emptying out like crazy because the Visitor Center closes at six, and because the sky is darkening with huge storm clouds speeding into position. The roads stay open until about 9, so we decide to take a little self-driving tour.
We’re here because Marj recently got her Masters Degree in American History and I thought it would be neat to punctuate our Made In America tour with visits to Civil War battle sites.
I’m no history buff, or Civil War buff, but I can tell you that the battlefield is amazing. It’s beautifully preserved and marked by the US Park Service (it’s a National Park). The roads have small pull-outs where you can get out and read the short stories of what happened at that spot in 1863. Most of the roads and fields and homes are still remaining, and some of the canon are placed where they might have been at the time.
There’s a tower you can climb, at the spot where Lincoln gave his address months after the battle. So Marj and I ventured up it and reached its deck at the very top, where we looked out at the battlefield for miles in all directions.
I imagined what it must have been like for the 12,500 Confederate soldiers who were racing across the farmer’s fields toward the center of the Union line. I was wondering what those Union soldiers were thinking.
And that’s when something wild happened. The storm clouds started booming.
There was no lightening, or rain. But the sky became pretty dark and all around us was thunder.
I thought it must have been like this, with the canon thunder, in 1863. It was as if we were given a special seating to a battlefield tour in Sensurround, where about 48,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties.
The spot had an impact on Lincoln, too. It was here he said, speaking of those who had fallen, “that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and -- that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The words are etched at the base of this tower. And they speak to us today, I think.
They’re telling us that those who died at Gettysburg did so the United States could re-invent itself with all the personal responsibility, enterprise, wherewithal, and resources we can muster.
This message wasn’t just for the folks of 1863. It applies to the folks of 2017, as well.
If we perceive that our nation’s direction is not right, we each have the responsibility to work together to make a change. Its not up some person called a ‘King’, or some body called a ‘Government’, rather it’s the duty of each one of us to decide and to act.
For me, I see the erosion of our factories and our jobs. And the solution isn’t a government one. It’s a personal one.
It’s about telling the story of Made In America, showing how it supports families and builds communities, and then convincing millions of other Americans that the Made In America value is important and worth the cost of supporting.
That’s why I’ve set up a company and website – www.Point-USA.com – to help companies buy products that are Made In America.
And it’s why we’re on this 11-day Made-In-USA Roadtrip. We’re here to see first-hand, walking the factories, talking with employees, and visiting communities, how important the Made In USA message really is.