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Brandywine gets close up look at history

Published 4:23pm Friday, July 11, 2014

Although reading about Ford’s Theatre in a book is nice, there is no substitute for actually seeing firsthand the place where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Or touching the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Or seeing the hundreds of thousands of white gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery.

“To actually sit in the theater and look up at the box — I hope that was impactful for them,” said Dave Roeder, Brandywine History Teacher. “Most of these kids have never been to these places.”

These sites were a few of the dozens of places 44 students and 26 adults visited during the Brandywine History Club’s trip to the East Coast. The club offers the trip every other year to a different historical place.

Fundraisers pay for a portion of the trip, while the vacationing students and parents pick up the rest.

Brandywine left June 13 for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where they toured its national park and had dinner at the historic Dobbin House Tavern.

From there, they saw the United States Naval Academy and watched a Baltimore Oriole’s game before heading to Ford’s Theatre and perusing the Smithsonian Museum.

Other key stops included Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Vietnam Memorial Wall and the U.S. Capitol.

Brandywine students laid a wreath with the school’s colors at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and made an etching of the name of a Brandywine person on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

“It was a real eye-opener, especially for people who have never been to a big city,” said Brandywine senior Hannah Hadden. “You learn a lot of history and it is a lot of fun. I would do it again if I had the chance.”

The history club returned on June 18.

Roeder said the next tip is planned for Asheville, North Carolina.; Charleston, South Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia.

“We try to pick places with great historical significance,” he said.

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