A version of this and the photos originally appeared on The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.

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Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson died from a sniper wound at the height of the battle, his greatest victory and the battle that probably saved Britain from invasion by France and Spain.

OK, that doesn’t sound like a promising start to a happy story. But it is. I think. Join me on the flip to see.
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As some of you know, I’m a huge Anglo-phile. Always have been.

And one of my dreams was to travel to England. I did and wrote about it before in an earlier happy story.

Part of my desire was to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson.

But I always loved stories of the British Navy too, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars.

And the greatest of all heroes of the British Navy was Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson.

A lot has been written about Nelson of late and Britain is currently caught in the grip of Nelson-mania with the bicentennial of Trafalgar and his death.

I spent considerable time at Trafalgar Square, photographing Nelson’s Column (the statue above is one of my shots).

I visited his crypt in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

And I took the train to Portsmouth to see his flag ship, the HMS Victory. The ship is still afloat in Portsmouth Harbor.

It might be hard to understand the sense of happiness and connectedness I felt by being on the very vessel that Nelson and others had sailed upon.

It was like the pages of a history book coming to life, like last weekend when Raybin and I walked upon the Battle of South Mountain sites in Maryland together.

Even though Nelson did not live to see his greatest victory, he lived long enough to know it would occur and he had guided. He lived history and he made history.

He overcame overwhelming odds to save his country, a country he loved so much that he could say honestly that he had no need of a greatcloak on a bitterly cold night in the North Sea for his love of England kept him warm.

I can understand that feeling. Though the fires have died of late and nearly covered with ash, my love of my country warms me.

And though we are in bitter days and the odds seem overwhelming, I see hope for us. It’s far off at the edge of the horizon and the future is cloudy, but it does seem as if a glimmer of hope is breaking for our country.

Nelson always advised his captains that when in doubt, always sail straight at the enemy. Nevermind manuevers. Sail straight at them.

That is good advice for us today.

That’s my happy story tonight. Your happy story may be about anything you wish to share.

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