Tuesday, January 17, 2006

George Washington Slept Here

I am going to go out on a limb and say that the locally produced PBS documentary on the French & Indian War, which won't even air until tomorrow night, is the best thing to be shown on television in ages. There really hasn't been a war fought in the Pittsburgh area in over 200 years. There have been violent strikes (Homestead) and uprisings (Whiskey Rebellion) that required armed intervention, but no actual battle in a declared war between two entities has been fought here for as long as America has been a republic.

When I was a lad, one of my favorite bedtime books was a biography of George Washington. My favorite part of the book concerned his days as a surveyor and as a young officer in the Virginia militia. Why? Because that was when he was active right here in southwestern Pennsylvania. I had a strong sense of local history as a young boy. Unfortunately I was not able to pass on the same interest to my offspring.

This new documentary may change all of that. I am going to sit them down and have them watch it with me until either they fall asleep, or their mother yells at them for staying up too late. But mama, this is worth staying up for! If nothing else, this show can teach the kids why we aren't all speaking French.

(News story with plenty of links to previous articles here, and the 250th anniversary site is here.)

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