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Day 2!

Hello Freedom Friends!

Today was another great day! We had some fantastic visitors!

We were taught by James Armistead Lafayette who was a slave at the time of the revolutionary war. James was brought up on a plantation and was the same age as his owners son. Because of this, they were close and James' owner taught him to read and write alongside his son. This skill, which was typically not allowed for slaves, ended up proving very valuable to James in his desire to aid the colonists in their battle against the British. James had a burning desire to join the continental army. He spoke with his owner who gave his permission and brought him to General Lafayette who asked him to be a spy. After being sent over to Benedict Arnold, under the guise of being a runaway slave, he was introduced to General Cornwallis. Cornwallis asked if James would be a spy for the British and promised him freedom at the end of the war. James agreed and became a double agent for the Colonists. He would bring General Lafayette information about the plans of the British, and would return to the British with false information about the plans of the Colonists. James' ability to read and write (unbeknownst to the British) aided him a lot in his responsibilities since he was able to write down important information and also read documents that gave him further information to share with Lafayette. His information proved very valuable and helped to turn the tide of the war. James urged the kids to take their education seriously. He also told them to always follow the Holy Spirit, which will always aid and guide them on the correct path.

Betsy Ross came from a large Quaker family of 20. From a young age she learned how to sew.

Her father apprenticed her to an upholstry shop where she learned to make many things. It is also where she met her husband, John Ross. Betsy and John fell in love and wanted to marry, but Betsy's family did not approve since John was not a Quaker. Betsy and John decided to elope and Betsy lost her family as a result. Not long after, when Betsy was 24 years old, John left to fight in the war and was killed. Betsy remarried only to have her second husband also die in the war. She continued to work in the upholstery shop and was approached one day by George Washington who wanted her to make a flag. After showing a sketch of his flag design which had 6 pointed stars, Betsy asked if they could be 5 pointed stars intead. These would be easier for her, since she knew how to make a 5 pointed star with only one snip of the scissors. (She showed the kids this technique using paper. She folded the paper, gave it one snip, and sure enough, it unfolded into a perfect 5 pointed star.) Washington agreed to the 5 pointed star and Betsy went ahead and made the first American Flag! Betsy talked about the importance of the flag and reminded the kids to respect it.

John Hancock taught the kids about the sacrifices that the Founders had to make and the risks they had to take in order to bring us our freedom. He used to say, "Let every man do what is right in his own eyes." And in his eyes, what was right was freedom. He talked about having to go into hiding with John Adams to avoid arrest for their part in the fight for freedom, and talked about how these men of the Congress brought forth the Declaration of Independence (written by Thomas Jefferson with only a few edits by Congress.) He read the kids the entire document, emphasizing these lines:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

He then showed the 56 signatures at the bottom of the document and gave the kids paper to practice their own signatures.

Lastly, the kids learned about Fort McHenry, where the British launched an attack for 25 hours in an attempt to get to Baltimore. The attack was ultimately unsuccesful for the British and they had to pull back. Francis Scott Key, who was watching the battle as a captive on a British ship, watched anxiously as the bombs burst and the rockets glared relentlessly hour after hour. When he saw the British pulling back and the flag still standing, his gratitude welled up inside him and he penned "The Star Spangled Banner" which became our National Anthem. After the kids learned about the inspiration behind our National Anthem, they got to shoot off some bottle rockets.

It was a fun, full day! Can't wait for tomorrow!

Also, the kids each have recieved a printout that they carry in their name tags with various things they can pass off and get pins and rewards. I will include a copy of the paper here so you can help your kids memorize and earn their prizes. You can also find a playlist of the songs the kids will be singing HERE. Feel free to work with your kids on these songs since time to learn them at Camp is limited. :) Thanks!

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