... but never have I had the
opportunity to enlighten over 2,000 school children within a
6-hour span of time like I did one week ago at The
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park near Middlesboro,
The event was named, "An American
Memoir" and the theme was "American Values"; namely, hard work,
sacrifice, bravery, military service, and patriotism. It was to
celebrate the 100th Anniversary of The National Park Service and
to officially release The Cumberland Gap Quarter in The America
The Beautiful Series issued by the U.S. Mint.
Russ Runge, Deputy
Superintendent at Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and I did the
coffin making demonstration.
Over 2,000 school children attended the event.
This photo is the group on the south side of the main tent.
This is a photo of the children and their
teachers inside the tent.
Students participated in the National Park
Service Centennial ceremony and the release of The Cumberland
Gap Quarter from The U.S. Mint.
The 2,000 students were in groups
that passed by our work station while a Park Service
Interpreter, Russ, and I put coffin making into its cultural
context of the great westward migration through The Cumberland
Gap between circa 1790 and 1825.
I have had a week to contemplate
the event and its contribution to the enlightenment of school
children and I must say that I am both elated and encouraged by
what I witnessed there. I am thrilled that the youngsters were
totally enthralled about American history and past lifeways and
Hundreds of school children held
our tools and some got to try them out. They were extremely
interested and well behaved.
I feel they gained a reverence for
the past that cannot be achieved from books and classroom
instruction and I am sure that among that group of youngsters
are future unplugged woodworkers and other traditional
craftspeople keeping our passion alive.