On our trip, we “bumped” into Paul and the Old North Church. During our first day in town, we visited and toured his home, then went around the corner and damn.
History. In front of me. A place and time totally foreign to me and a place where I’d never dreamed of actually visiting. This is the Old North Church, where Paul Revere famously told the sexton of the church “one of by land, two if by sea”. He saw two lanturns hung and the rest is history.
Now, to see the home of Revere, to see a church so important in our country’s history gave me goosebumps. Like I said, this was never a trip I’d expected to be on, so to see such and important piece of our history was pretty awesome. The next day, we came back and I saw this spot again, this time on our trip on the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile trail that took us from Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument. So much history on that trail that it was almost overwhelming. The burial site of Samuel Adams, the The USS Constitution, and a wealth of other site were waiting for us along the way, including the Old North Church.
On a side note, that first day was when I got my first cannoli, a life changing experience! 🙂
The second trail we walked is called the Battle Road Trail as part of the Minute Man National Park. This is the North Bridge where the first shots of the Revolution were fired. Again, chills. To walk on a historical bridge like that, looking at it from both sides, where the British were trying to cross and where the militia were holding their ground, felt almost surreal. It reminded me of Gettysburg. Many years ago, we camped in an area where Northern solider has camped or marched. I went for a run in the morning and felt chills being in an area so important to our country’s history. This bridge was no different. In fact, we walked on the Battle Road Trail, seeing the spot where Revere was capture (and released), learning that the British force was almost routed and had to be saved by another force sent from Boston, and saw the spot were the first “American” was killed.
To see history up close and person is something I love to do. Walking the footsteps on people so important gives you a sense of awe, but also of responsibility. As we just completed celebrating our country’s birthday, I question many things: 1) How do we show our respect, but also push to do better? 2) Can we ever reconcile the fact that many of these people, patriots, we also slave owners? 3) How do we continue to do better, to honor the memories of these men (and women) and their sacrifice to create a country? 4) How do we continue to do better for those people who were here WAY before us, the “merciless Indian Savages” as the Declaration of Independence put it, but those whom the Continental Congress consulted on how to govern such a large area?
The days spent seeing the historical place were not wasted. We walked many places, seeing great buildings, feeling the presences of great men, and wondering, what can I do?
Some days, I feel like teaching helps to honor those ideals. Others, writing. Today, it was just powering through a shitty day, working in the garden, and being there.
But, in the end, it’s up to each one of us to make sure the impact we want to make is our own.
Our Founding Fathers were flawed individuals, yet, they defied an empire and created something new and grand.
Make your impact.