America the Beautiful Pass

The Continental Congress issued a proclamation for a national day ‘for solemn Thanksgiving and praise.’

ColorMmnt2_1In anticipation of doing some traveling, the Wife and I stopped at the Saratoga National Historical Park back in May, which is not actually in Saratoga but in relatively nearby Stillwater, to pick up one particular America the Beautiful Pass.

I bought a Senior Pass. For $10, U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can get access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. One can order it online or through the mail, but then it cost ten for the Pass plus ten for processing the application.

The Park Ranger who issued my card asked where we were from. I admitted, sheepishly, “from Albany, and I had never been” there before. She said, “That’s all right. I’ve come across people from Saratoga who hadn’t visited previously.”

The Senior Pass “may provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.” Unfortunately, my bride was too young to take advantage, but since she was accompanying me, her entrance to Saratoga National Historical Park was free.

In Revolutionary War parlance, Saratoga refers to two battles in the autumn of 1777. “After capturing Fort Ticonderoga with almost laughable ease, the British army, led by overconfident General John Burgoyne, crawled south at a tortoise pace, giving the rattled Americans time to regroup under Horatio Gates. To support him, General George Washington sent Benedict Arnold, his best infantry commander; Colonel Daniel Morgan and his crack regiment of Virginia riflemen; and two brigades of Continentals from the Hudson Highlands.”
On October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrendered to the American forces under General Gates. “To celebrate the American victory at Saratoga, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation for a national day ‘for solemn Thanksgiving and praise,’ the first official holiday observance with that name.”

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016, and it seems like a good time to start visiting America.

1) the monument pictured was built about a century after the battle
2) the national parks quarter featuring Saratoga, the last of five quarters issued in 2015, I haven’t gotten yet! And I’ve been looking.


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