Heritage is defined as the traditions, achievements and beliefs that are part of the history of a group or nation. Its scope expands with the passage of time.
Many chapters in the story of America have been written in this part of the country, with our deep regional roots reaching all the way back to the 13 original colonies and then some. We are all the richer for it.
We have always enjoyed attending events at which people, often dressed in period attire, explain and show how folks lived in the past. It certainly wasn’t easy, with families struggling simply to survive often under harsh circumstances.
It must be hard for young people to realize the hardships faced by Americans even a century ago or less. With the development of countless labor-saving devices and technological advances, they would be hard pressed to imagine life without cellphones and apps, much less televisions, gaming systems and microwave ovens. Nearly everything the heart desires may be found online and speedily shipped. Today’s cars can park themselves.
That’s why events like Heritage Weekend, a first for Mineral County, West Virginia, are so important.
Five sites were open for visitors last Friday and Saturday, including Ashby’s Fort, a vital outpost during the French and Indian War and one of the first strongholds George Washington ordered built after British Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock’s defeat. Braddock was commander-in-chief for the colonies during the start of the conflict. An archaeologist said it’s probably the most significant French and Indian War locale in West Virginia.
Other sites were open in Antioch, Burlington and Keyser, including the Old Stone House/Traveller’s Rest and the Carskadon Mansion.
Allegany County celebrated Heritage Days last month, along with the Whiskey Rebellion commemoration, and the Springs Folk Festival was held in Springs, Pennsylvania, last weekend. Craftspeople and vendors demonstrated skills employed by the nation’s forefathers, like blacksmithing and weaving, making candles and soap along with wood and leather work.
Glimpses into our past can give all of us a greater appreciation for preceding generations, their hardscrabble existence, resilience and contributions in making America what it is today.