During my school days, one of the elementary school highlights was a field trip to Philadelphia where we visited the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House. We were supposed to go to Valley Forge as well, but the class was so interested in the Betsy Ross House and its gift shop that we had to skip Valley Forge.
As I look back on that trip, I wonder how many generations of students shuffled through those same sites in Philadelphia. Why exactly, did our class or any other make a stop at the "Betsy Ross House?"
Betsy Ross, of course is the fabled woman who created and sewed the first American flag for our fledgling nation. Read that again. The key word is "fabled," not in the sense of Ross' fame, but of the phony flag story. There are no Continental Congress records reflecting any truth to the Betsy Ross story, which first appeared in print more than three decades after she was dead. Historians have precious little evidence for the Ross Myth. The fact is Betsy Ross never designed the flag, did not sew the first flag and probably never met George Washington.
Historians aren't even convinced that Betsy Ross even lived at the tourist trap now deemed the "Betsy Ross House." When American celebrated its bicentennial in 1776, someone chose two graves, had the corpses exhumed and they are now buried at the Ross house where they now rest under headstones of Ross and her husband, regardless of whose bones they were.
Moving the grave sites was ridiculous, especially when moving the right sets of remains was something of a crapshoot (even a "best guess" is still a guess).
Sending children to visit "The Birthplace of Old Glory" was a waste of time when I was in fifth grade, and it still is today.