Fourth of July

A special V.I.P., that’s Very Important Patriot (or Pirate), event begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person and include access to the museum for the evening, food and beverages, access to the USS KIDD beginning at 8 p.m., and the best view of WBRZ’s Fireworks on the Mississippi River. Tickets are available at USS KIDD 4th of July.

 In addition, there is a new traveling exhibit on display through the end of July in the shoreside museum. Sponsored by Visit Baton Rouge, “This is U.S.” combines three exhibits from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “Becoming the United States” begins in the colonial era with the first interactions between American Indians, Europeans, and Africans and ends with the Reconstruction of the United States after the Civil War. “Alexander Hamilton” examines Hamilton’s central role during the Revolutionary War and Founding period in creating the economic, constitutional, social, journalistic, political, and foreign policy templates for modern America. “Freedom” documents and illustrates critical figures and events while tracing the evolving concept of freedom in the United States from the country’s founding through 1968.

 There are strong American Revolution and USS KIDD pirate connections that have prompted the choice of the “Patriots and Pirates” theme. USS KIDD, and her successor KIDDs, are the only ships in the U.S. Navy authorized to fly the Jolly Roger, or “skull and crossbones.” During World War II USS KIDD became known as the “Pirate of the Pacific.”

 Pirates, or privateers, played a vital role in the American Revolution. The Continental Navy had few ships and funds to build new ships were limited. The Colonies turned to the system of issuing Letters of Marque to privateers, with the goal of disrupting British shipping. Ships of all sizes and types participated. It is estimated that by the end of the war, damage to British shipping amounted to about $302 million in current dollars.

 Many Louisianans are unaware of the Battles of Baton Rouge and Lake Pontchartrain in 1779. After Spain officially declared war on Great Britain, Bernardo de Galvez, the colonial Governor of Spanish Louisiana, recruited troops and attacked Fort Bute, south of Baton Rouge, then the fort at Baton Rouge. Terms of surrender included the surrender of Fort Panmure at Natchez. This victory cleared the Mississippi River of British forces. Concurrently, American and Spanish privateers captured British supply ships on Lake Pontchartrain.

Celebrating July 4th downtown has become a tradition for many Baton Rouge area families. The USS KIDD Veterans Museum will be open for regular visitation on Monday, July 4th, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is charged. Visiting the USS KIDD is a great way to mark Independence Day.

 For more information about Patriots & Pirates, please visit www.usskidd.com, or call 225-342-1942.

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