The slots of liberty

Perhaps I’m too sensitive, but something about the headline “Pennsylvania’s newest casino opens at Valley Forge” doesn’t sit well with me.  “Casino” and “Valley Forge” are two terms that don’t belong together, sort of like “clown act” and “funeral,” or “Snickers bar” and “roast duck.”

Security guards stationed at the edge of the casino floor watched as Ingrid Walker, 69, of Linwood, Delaware County, slid her access card into an electronic gateway. A green arrow lit to admit her, and Walker, who bought an annual membership at the casino resort, made her way in.

“I think it’s good,” she said of the access restrictions. “It keeps the riffraff out.”

Wouldn’t want anything to disrupt the dignity of the gaming experience, surrounded by middle-aged white women relentlessly cramming bills into jangling light-up machines.

Valley Forge Casino Resort uses a silver “V” logo in ads and on billboards dotting the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-76, and I-95. There’s also a “V” sculpture at its entrance at 1160 First Ave. Management says the logo stands for “victory” – what gamblers aim to achieve at its slots and table games – but it’s also partly a nod to the historic location.

And in case you’d forgotten why it’s historic, the ace reporter provides a helpful refresher.  To quote directly:

Historical accounts say Gen. Washington, with the aid of Prussian military officer Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, unified and standardized the Continental Army when it camped at Valley Forge from December 1777 to June 1778. Their preparation led to the capture of Hessian and British troops at the Battle of Trenton, considered a turning point in the American Revolution.

The Battle of Trenton took place a full year before the winter at Valley Forge, of course, so the Americans evidently managed to get twelve months’ worth of extra fighting experience and then go back in time to use it against their enemies.  No wonder the Hessians were surprised.

“Roads?” Washington reportedly said to his troops as they prepared to cross the Delaware.  “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

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