We left D.C. just ahead of an approaching cold front, driving south on I-95, a very familiar road for us from our years in North Carolina. First stop – Fort Bragg, birthplace of both Carson and Bridger, home of 3rd Special Forces Group (my first assignment in SF), and our home for over 7 years. It was great to catch up with friends who have either moved there or never left. We stayed with Jason and Amy and charming Ava, saw Frank at “work,” and went to dinner at the Mash House with Rob and Kim, Chris, and Matt for an old school Bad Boys reunion! Our boys got a full-on Green Beret history tour, from the JFK SF museum on Fort Bragg to the Airborne and Special Operations museum downtown to dinner with team guys. Perfect!
Driving south from Bragg, we took the kids even further back in time, continuing the reunion tour with Jason and Alis, our amazing friends from back in my infantry days in Baumholder, Germany. We had a family Super Bowl party and spent hours catching up. Carson, Bridger, and Erin spent hours playing Xbox and laughing at us laughing at our own stupid inside jokes. We all took an evening to visit historic downtown Savannah, drank Wet Willies on the riverfront, walked through a few of Savannah’s squares, and ate at the Moon River Brewing Company. It’s hard to believe how the years have flown by. Adrienne’s in college, for Pete’s sake! We have such great friends.
After studying so much American history in the past six months, it was very cool to visit Fort Sumter, site of the first battle of the Civil War. We drove from Savannah up to Charleston, South Carolina for a day and took a ferry out to the island fortress-turned-monument. They still have some of the original guns in place along with Confederate cannonballs lodged in the brick walls. You can literally touch the history here! The enormous US flag (20′ x 36′!) that flew over the garrison during the initial battle in 1861 is in the nearby museum. It was raised once again on April 14, 1865, four years to the day after it was lowered when US troops withdrew from the fort. President Lincoln didn’t attend the flag-raising, knowing he was unpopular in South Carolina and not wanting to invite unpleasantness. Also, he had theater tickets that evening…
Back in Charleston, we spent the rest of the day just enjoying the city. While walking on the waterfront in the evening, a couple asked us to help them send off paper lanterns to mark a 50th birthday. We were more than happy to help and pretty soon those beautiful glowing lanterns were floating high over the Charleston Harbor. We waited until they were out of sight then headed back to Savannah.
The next day, with the cold front following us once again, we turned the bus down I-95 and made a beeline for Florida. Next stop – Cocoa Beach!