Battlefields, Cemeteries, War Museums: The Bucket List

1314 Battle of Bannockburn

Visiting Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland

The fourteenth century archer's right hand pulls his bow string taut. Suddenly, his arrow is released, flying over my head. I turn to see another soldier, his heart pierced by the arrow, stumble and fall. The Interpretive Center at Bannockburn Read More

Halloween-style jail in the Joan of Arc Garden in Québec City (Photo: MCArnott)

Hounding Halloween Ghosts in Québec City, Canada

A giant spider crawls on the side of an office building. A sailing ship has run aground in front of Québec City Hall. Halloween decorations set the tone for our family visit to Québec City, with grandchildren in tow. Ships have a lot to do with Read More

Tour group on the Gettysburg Battlefield

Touring the Gettysburg Battlefield with a Gettysburg Guide

It was raining, of course. It had rained for a week and shown no signs of stopping, but this was our one chance to see Gettysburg while John and I were in this part of Pennsylvania. Our National Park Service tour bus pulled into the parking area for Read More

Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires (©photocoen)

Listening to Stories of the Dead in Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

City of Angels, City of the Dead, or City of Cats: These names all refer to the Recoleta necropolis in Buenos Aires. With 5000 sepulchers this eternal resting place is a rich synthesis of history, art, religion and death, and serves as a tribute to Read More

A prisoner's cell, Robben Island, Cape Town (Ann Burnett 2013)

Following the Footsteps of Prisoners, Robben Island, Cape Town, South Africa

The ferry to Robben Island from Cape Town takes only 30 minutes but at the end of it we were in a different world. A harsh landscape, bleak and  devoid of trees, greeted us at the quay where a tour bus took us to the prison in the center of the Read More

Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

Exploring Jesse James Country in Northwest Missouri

The summer sun beat down on the brown and parched grass as we made our way across the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kearney Missouri, a small community of 5,400 about 40 minutes northeast of Kansas City. We were in the oldest part of the cemetery where Read More

A mass grave in the Killing Fields, Cambodia

Learning about Cambodia’s History at the Choeung Ek Memorial (Killing Fields)

I hold it together until I see the Killing Tree, but then it's impossible to stop the tears. The Killing Tree, as the sign next to it explains, is "the tree against which executioners beat children". Previous visitors have attached colorful Read More

Tyne Cot 4

Wondering Why in Flanders’ Fields: the First World War Battlefields of Belgium

“Why?” demands Raoul. We stand in a line, look at our toes and shuffle our feet uneasily on the spot. “Why?” he demands again. It isn’t that we don’t know why the gravestones in front of us, white as a row of perfect teeth, are jostling shoulder Read More

Geyser Lake at Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum

Tracing Monuments of History at Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio

I slow to a stroll along the two-lane road, which passes under a railroad trestle bridge then takes a gentle angle upward. Gazing at the tops of trees took precedent after all; I am impressed by the towering specimens’ ability to block out the blue Read More

Dover Castle

Exploring the Secret World War II Tunnels in Dover, England

Walking up the hill to Dover Castle, I expected tales of jousting and medieval brutalities: chain mail and armor, cold old stone, and a torture chamber or two. And indeed, there were plenty of old stone walls, and I'm quite certain a dungeon -- Read More

Egypt's El Alamein Miliatary Museum

Paying Respects at Egypt’s El-Alamein Battlefield and Museum

To one side of me is the deep, oversaturated blue of the Mediterranean. To the other, the beige sands of the Sahara glare in a sun suitable for neither mad dogs nor Englishmen. Every once in a while there is barbed wire fence, less often, a sign Read More

Star Spangled Banner

Stalking The Star-Spangled Banner in Baltimore

Francis Scott Key wasn't kidding when he used the words "broad stripes” to describe the flag he spotted one morning in Baltimore Harbor. Standing before that same flag in the Smithsonian Museum of American History, I stared at stripes that are two Read More