ROME, N.Y.—When we pulled up to the train station in Rome, New York, we were met with a kind of extreme fanfare that I don't think I'll ever get used to.
With a raised hand to strike up the high school band, the celebration was on as hundreds of fans crowded inside and outside of the train station, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite anchors and happy to say their piece about the issues that matter to them.
"The economy is the most important," said Kristine Incorvaia, mother of two. "I'm very interested in the cost of things like gas and clothing."
"There are too many negative ads," 78-year-old Korean War veteran Tom Kendaly said. "[The candidates] should be sticking to the issues."
But as I made my way outside the back of the station, a different group of people caught my eye — mainly because they were decked out in Revolutionary War uniforms.
They were, I came to learn, descendants and members of the Oneida Indian Nation, known as the First Allies because they were the first recognized Native American tribe to side with the colonists against the British during the Revolutionary War.
According to William Kuhl, member of the Oneida Indian Nation, the Nation's assistance to George Washington's troops throughout the infamous winter in Valley Forge, in addition to valiant fighting in several other battles in the Northeast, helped turn the tide of the war in the colonists' favor.
"The land you're standing on today used to be Oneida land," Kuhl said. "If it hadn't been for the Oneidas, Washington's troops may not have prevailed.
And without Washington's victories, would there be a United States at all?
But luckily for us, Washington and the United States did prevail and so we're off again, heading through the countryside to another city with a complex history and people all its own.
When we get wherever we're going next, we'll only know one thing for certain about the town: it's American (unless we make a serious wrong turn).
Til then, Cheerio.