These days, much attention is given to “education,” whether it deals with K-12 schools, higher education, the cost of education, mid-career education, technical schools, proper funding for education, community colleges, the importance or lack of importance of graduate schools or MBA programs, etc.
Another form of education, a very unique form, is being offered again this year by Richard Norton Smith, former director of Kansas University’s Dole Institute of Politics. Smith, a highly acclaimed presidential scholar and historian, author, television pundit and director and curator of presidential libraries is conducting two special history tours.
These tours are not offered for academic credit, but they do bring history to life. Smith is a gifted speaker and he makes history real, relevant and entertaining. As he says, “There’s no excuse for a dull book, a dull museum or a dull tour, especially when dealing with history, the most fascinating subject I know.”
Smith’s highly popular tours provide a unique educational opportunity for individuals of all ages. The first tour is titled, “Mr. Lincoln’s War: On the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg.” This eight-day tour on luxury motor coaches will be led and hosted by Smith in June and will visit Civil War battlefields and historic sites.
The second tour, “A Presidential Tour of New York, New England & the Hudson Valley,” is a nine-day touring classroom in October that starts in New York and visits Hyde Park and Albany, N.Y.; Bennington and Plymouth Notch, Vt.; Dartmouth College, Concord, N.H., Lexington Green and Boston, Mass., and other historic sites along the way.
These tours are special in every respect. Both offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see, hear and learn American history, particularly at a time when the proud history of this country seems to be placed in “past tense” by too many Americans who see it as irrelevant to today’s society and political climate.
This editorial is not meant as an advertisement to hype sales for Smith’s tours, but rather to point out another way to be educated, learn and appreciate what it took and the price paid by hundreds of thousands of Americans to give us the country we enjoy today and to gain insight into the lives of military leaders and presidents.