Florida rolls forward through the hurricane season. After Hurricane Matthew's destruction of homes and coastlines, it has become a learned lesson that to rebuild, we must build something that will last. Take a page out of the book of the men who constructed the infamous Fort Clinch in Fernandina. For every brick that held the walls and buildings were built with a purpose. These bricks laid were for the defense and the protection of everything the fighting soldiers held dear.
When you visit Fort Clinch, before you prepare to enter the fort, you can sense the danger that loomed on the hearts of the regiments. At the entrance of the fort, two lines of large wooden spikes greet you. What better way to invite you into the chaotic world of military defense than to give you a taste of what enemies faced if they ever tried to breach the fort? After you pass through the brick hall into the parade, the view instantly takes you back. Your first sight is the American flag whipping in the wind that comes from the beach’s shore, a positive reminder to the men to remember why they fight.
With each room and corridor you explore through, a clearer picture of the fort's history forms in your mind, the canons pointed toward the ocean, the small beds and cold cement floors the men dealt with, the social hall where they danced and talked, and the many passage ways leading to other parts of the fort.
The bricks that make up the fort witnessed much danger and happy times between 1847 and 1945. Everything from expanded construction, to surviving three major wars, Fort Clinch's fortified walls aren't just years of labor with masonry and dirt; they are the surviving pieces of history that continue to remind us that to defend what we hold dear, we must construct something that is built to last.