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March Date Sunday September 3, 2006 March Day 79

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

David calls an early reveille on this overcast but rainless morning and the soggy camp is quickly taken down. Very damp and now moldy tentage is stored in Martha's hold. Our Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation friends again serve us a hearty breakfast of sausage and pancakes before we bid them our final adieu. Always the perfect hosts, they have assured that our bodies were well-fed while allowing us our pursuits in continuing our march. Photos are taken outside the headquarters and we say our goodbyes.

David does a superb job of jockeying Martha out of the adjacent lot and into the very narrow street lined with carriages on both sides before he joins the marchers at the day's start at the site of the Red Lion Inn. The men begin the day's journey, approximately 16 miles down the Bristol Pike onto the King's Highway, now Frankford Avenue, into Philadelphia. Martha and the smaller carriage will take the wider well-worn wagon roads of 95 and 76. Coming into Philadelphia, Rose takes a wrong turn, and a call to Joe Syrnik ( the same Joe "Ziernak' that I mispelled so badly!) brings a prompt rescue and he guides us through the busy streets to the night's camp on the Schuylkill River. Martha will be parked in a large empty lot of a condo complex still under construction, just across the train tracks from the newly developed recreational trail along the river. This trail with its small grassy area will be the night's camp for tentage. Joe and his friend Ken assist the camp followers in setting the camp, knowing the wet canvas will dry in the cool breeze of the river, which is brown and swollen from the recent rains of Ernesto.

Joe brings us notice to a large sign which has been erected in this camp area by Pennsylvania W3R, Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, and Schuylkill Banks and Fairmount Park Commission....it is a notice of the Revolutionay War Reenactors who are following the entire 600 mile route of the W3R, complete with sketch of the 27th camp at Philadelphia 1781 by Louis Berthier, aide to General Rochambeau. We are speechless, and thrilled.

Meanwhile, the army continues into the city, stopping at St.Mark's church where a banner is displayed welcoming the March to Yorktown reenactors. Being a Sunday, they humbly enter this house of worship and find themselves presented to the congregation and given a blessing by the pastor.

After reuniting with the camp followers, the marchers are received by the Historical Society of Frankford.. A goodly crowd has awaited our arrival and we catch glimpses of period clothing and patriotic colors as we enter the society building. Among those present are Historical Society president Debbie Klak, W3R Ursula Reed, Philadelphia historian Torben Zenk, W3R historian Bob Selig and DAR ladies Patty Coyne (in her festive red hat), Ann Patten and Rosemary Hogan. We are led in prayer by pastor Jon Clodfelter, each marcher is introduced, refreshments are served, and short speeches are given by our hosts and march members Mike and David. Our thanks to you all for supporting our country's history.

On the road again and with rising excitement, our colours prominent in the wind, the marchers enter the city proper...there is much acknowledgement and cheering from the townsfolk.....Huzzah! Bienvenue!. Horses are startled at this grand sight, carriages stop in their tracks and the marchers continue around the square at Independence Hall, down Market Street to the bridge and down to the River Bank encampment. Here there is only a short reprieve as we must ready ourselves to attend the evening mass at Old St.Joseph's Church - the same church where Washington, Rochambeau and LaFayette worshipped together. It is a beautiful, perfectly maintained historical building in the heart of the city and we are accompanied by Ursula, her Mom and Bob Selig. We proceed to the front pew, pray our thanks together, remembering our great leaders under this same roof.

Mike has a much too short visit with his son Travis, accompanied by his wife Tracie and daughter Lila, who have travelled from Virginia and must return this same night. Our Ricciardi scout family has returned and has set their camp alongside ours at the river. Paul Hutchins and his son Zach have rejoined us and Mike Chuckta, previous marcher from Monroe CT has found his way once again.

As the marchers return from mass, we are astounded at the sight awaiting us. It is near dark and the lamps along the river are lit, the extraordinarily modern glass Cira Center building across the water is majestically aglow from top to bottom in red, white and blue lighting, arranged for our benefit by Joe Syrnik. A fire-pit with welcoming campfire at the river's edge beckons (also by Joe!), a canopy protects tables laden with every imaginable food - coordinated and prepared by Sweetbriar ladies Celeste and Gloria, and many other talented cooks far too many for me to remember here, I regret. Iced local spirits are brought in by Torben Jenk and we meet his lovely - and patient- wife. This is a March to Yorktown, W3R, DAR, Historical Society, reenactor, supporters and many friends' celebration! We feast and drink, talking with many new and old friends. What a truly terrific day this has been for us all. The party gradually trickles down, into the early hour of the morning before we each and all retire to our beds. Ah, Philadelphia....you grand, hospitable city. Merci.

Avec Amour,