An Atonement at Fort Sumter
re·demp·tion (r-dmpshn) n. atonement for guilt.
Know all by these presents that, at precisely twenty minutes past four on the afternoon of Sunday, the twenty-seventh day of February in the year of our Lord two thousand and eleven, Professor Brian Janiskee of San Bernardino, California, finally set foot on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
No trumpets blared, no sirens sounded, no fireworks sizzled and boomed. But if you had listened carefully, you would have heard the great sigh of relief that escaped my lips. You might have seen my shoulders rise, too, as though relieved of a very great weight.
Has there been a sweeter redemption this side of heaven?
Brian is a Civil War buff, and he's wanted to see Fort Sumter for as long as he can remember. When he visited me at my South Carolina home about 25 years ago, he practically begged me to take him there. I promised I would, of course, but the deed proved easier said than done.
Oh, I got Brian to Charleston alright. I even got him on a boat that pushed away from the dock, motored out into the harbor, and headed in the direction of Fort Sumter. The thing is, that particular boat didn't stop at Fort Sumter. As Traveler readers of long standing may recall, I had managed to get us aboard a harbor tour boat instead of the Fort Sumter shuttle. Duh!!
Brian paid me another visit this year, and this time the Fort Sumter trip went off without a hitch. While in Charleston we even took the Confederate submarine H.L Hunley tour and enjoyed a seafood dinner at Hyman's.
Second chances are wonderful things, and should never be taken too lightly.