Please watch the 1-minute video postcard at the end of this Blog
It was a pilgrimage of sorts, this visit to the old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, where one of the first battles of the American Revolution was waged on April 19, 1775.
I went to reclaim something.
The minutemen, and the occasional trek to this iconic bridge, was part of my historic narrative, just as it is for all Americans. Or should be.
But the loyalty I had felt in the naiveté of youth had perished in the anarchistic sixties, fluttered hopefully with the election of our first African American President, then faded fast in the downpour of political vitriol that followed.
I wanted to see if, returning to Concord, I might feel something that would connect me to those revolutionaries in the Arab world; in Tahrir Square, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, who were demonstrating , fighting and dying for a freedom we have long taken for granted.
I had walked the roads of those countries too.
I asked a woman with a camera what brought her to Concord, to the Old North Bridge, today. “I’ve never been, and I happened to be nearby…so I thought, might as well…”
“But” I ventured to ask, “does it make you feel anything about what’s happening in the Arab world now?”
She stared blankly at first, then “oh, I see what you mean, like Egypt?”
I smiled yes.. and thought “so much more”.
Then I was alone, and still.
Across the stream a man and child approached.
He was from Ghana, and we stood together by the Acton Minuteman Isaac Davis and Emerson’s poem.
“By the Rude bridge that arched the flood
Their flag to Aprils breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
and fired the shot heard round the world”
How right, that he should be there. Together we and this place roughly represented what was possible.
We talked of struggle and freedom.
“What has happened to this country? he said, “ you fought so hard against tyranny… what... do you value now?”