Monthly Archives: April 2011

Education via Travel

High above my hometown flies America’s largest confederate battle flag.  To many, this is a source of pride and heritage.  But when I see the Stars and Bars waving high over the tree line I see the battle flag of a vanquished nation, a flag that shouldn’t be flown without an American flag flying just higher than it.

I bring this up because last night I was driving home with a friend who has lived here just as long as I have and yet never knew much of anything about this flag that has such a prominent place in our county.

The flag people associate with the confederacy is the first flag shown below.  This flag is actually the battle flag that the rebel troops would fight under.  The dimensions were varied and most were square but this was the design.

The second flag below is the real flag of the Confederacy (the last flag design adopted by the Confederate Congress before their fall).  Note that the battle flag design IS incorporated but IS NOT the entire flag.  In fact, throughout the Confederacy, the battle flag was never the entire design of their flag.  This flag also flies over Brandon, but in the most appropriate of places: a Confederate cemetery. 

This is why I have a problem with the flag that flies over I75 and I4.  It is a battle flag that troops would go to war under, killing Union troops.  The Civil War (a misnomer if I have ever seen one) is over.  The battle flags should take their place in historical context and not be flown high over American soil.

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Right before your eyes

I grew up outside of Tampa and never really liked the city.  The skyline was interesting to see when the fair came to town – peaking over the tops of the trees as one peaked on the Farris Wheel.  But to me, it was full of people too busy for life, grungy looking people and just undesirable experiences.

When I travel, I try to make it a point to visit open/green spaces.  I like the idea of nature in the middle of urban settings.  Central Park in NYC can take you from the hustle and bustle to a calm, relaxed setting with trees shrubs and wildlife.  Not all urban parks need to be dense or intricate to do the trick either.  I was introduced to a beautiful park today by a friend of mine.  He loves Tampa and loves to educate people on the city.

We went to the Curtis Hixon Waterfront park on the Hillsborough River.  It has a large lawn with lush grass, nice trees and is right up against the East shore of the river.  It is flanked by two museums (just outside of the photo below, they would be on the right hand side) that add to a nice feeling of closeness to the city, yet far enough away to connect to nature.  The University of Tampa is across the river in the background.  If you are ever in town, it is something to see regardless of season.  Even after a heavy rain (like today) it was beautiful and perfectly fine to walk around in wearing nice clothes.

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