Undaunted (by the rain), throngs of people moved across the bridge and past our tent, hurrying to battle – the reenactment of the 1814 Battle of Bladensburg, when British troops overwhelmed our forces and raced into Washington, D.C. to burn our Capitol, president’s mansion, and other government buildings.
The festival-goers had received the message from “newscasters” dressed in period garb about where the battle was to take place and that the time to go was now.
Our group of vendors was located across the long walking bridge on the other side of the river from the main part of the Undaunted Weekend/Battle of Bladensburg festival, but we were assured that the crowds would have to pass our tents to get to the 3:00 p.m. reenactment on our side of the river.
In spite of rain, the rush to get to (the) battle was intense. People could only glance back at illustrator Audrey Engdahl’s beautiful book cover posters as they hurried by. So we started handing out business cards showing my three novels as they went by, saying, “If you can’t stop now, you can see them online.”
In spite of downpours all day long, we enjoyed the festival, greeted people we had not seen for years, and told many people about the Maryland history in Well Considered – of hogsheads of tobacco being rolled down dirt roads to Bladensburg and loaded onto sailing ships bound for Baltimore and France. We sold Canoedling in Cleveland to people who had read my previous books, and Cologne No. 10 for Men to readers who liked Catch-22.
Sitting in the rain, I imagined our fledgling nation attacking Great Britain (the only country to have ever burned the White House and Capitol Building) and wreaking vengeance, although I know we hadn’t the military strength to do this. Then I heard old men beating the drums of war again, and saw us rushing undaunted back to Iraq to battle other terrorists, because someone has told us where to go and that the time is now, and that the world must fear this new ISIS army, and that we are the ones who must destroy it (not Iraq and its neighbors) . . . and I wondered how many thousands of innocents would die this time, and how much it would cost this time in American blood and suffering and money.