If Gov. Rendell had to write a school essay this fall about how he spent his summer vacation, it might have a long but accurate title: "How I destroyed Pennsylvania historic sites that teach us who we are as Americans and that bring tourists to our commonwealth." It's up to parents, educators, veterans, and everyone who cares about why we fought the American Revolution to stop the governor from closing these five sites as part of his budget cuts.

Historian Gordon S. Wood wrote that gaining "a historical sense" teaches us how to live in the world and fosters a sense of community. Sites such as Brandywine Battlefield, Fort Pitt Museum, Bushy Run Battlefield, Conrad Weiser Homestead, and the Joseph Priestly House do that and more. They provide invaluable resources for parents and teachers interested in teaching our children what it means to be an American, inspire people of all ages to become more active participants in our democracy, and generate business revenues and sales-tax dollars through tourism.

All of Pennsylvania's state-funded historic sites are too valuable to lose - and people across the commonwealth and the country would be well-served by making sure that is the lesson Rendell learns this summer.

Ken Gavin

American Institute for History Education