We’ve had friends visiting from Munich for a few days. This weekend, I offered them an improvised historical walking tour of central Philadelphia.
We wended our way through Independence Square, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Fairmount Park, and my beloved Rittenhouse Square. We stopped there for cheesesteaks—from a street cart, the way Betsy Ross intended—and ate them while listening to buskers and political protesters. At various points, our guests seemed especially interested in Philadelphia’s public monuments, particularly our battalion of statues.
As we headed back toward the car, we passed yet another cluster of Founding Fathers iconography: tributes to Thomas Jefferson, this time seemingly out of nowhere.
Conversation ensued. I think it had been brewing for a while.
Let me tell you, it really focuses the mind when a German observes that your society seems unusually susceptible to hero-worship.