Thursday, February 16, 2012


In 1883, a creative engineer
named John Roebling was
inspired by an idea to build a
spectacular bridge connecting
New York with the Long Island.
However bridge building experts
throughout the world thought
that this was an impossible feat
and told Roebling to forget the
idea. It just could not be done. It
was not practical. It had never
been done before.
Roebling could not ignore the
vision he had in his mind of this
bridge. He thought about it all
the time and he knew deep in
his heart that it could be done.
He just had to share the dream
with someone else. After much
discussion and persuasion he
managed to convince his son
Washington, an up and coming
engineer, that the bridge in fact
could be built.
Working together for the first
time, the father and son
developed concepts of how it
could be accomplished and how
the obstacles could be
overcome. With great
excitement and inspiration, and
the headiness of a wild
challenge before them, they
hired their crew and began to
build their dream bridge.
The project started well, but
when it was only a few months
underway a tragic accident on
the site took the life of John
Roebling. Washington was also
injured and left with a certain
amount of brain damage, which
resulted in him not being able to
talk or walk.
“We told them so.” “Crazy
men and their crazy dreams.”
“It’s foolish to chase wild
Everyone had a negative
comment to make and felt that
the project should be scrapped
since the Roeblings were the
only ones who knew how the
bridge could be built.
In spite of his handicap
Washington was never
discouraged and still had a
burning desire to complete the
bridge and his mind was still as
sharp as ever. He tried to inspire
and pass on his enthusiasm to
some of his friends, but they
were too daunted by the task.
As he lay on his bed in his
hospital room, with the sunlight
streaming through the
windows, a gentle breeze blew
the flimsy white curtains apart
and he was able to see the sky
and the tops of the trees
outside for just a moment.
It seemed that there was a
message for him not to give up.
Suddenly an idea hit him. All he
could do was move one finger
and he decided to make the best
use of it. By moving this, he
slowly developed a code of
communication with his wife.
He touched his wife’s arm
with that finger, indicating to
her that he wanted her to call
the engineers again. Then he
used the same method of
tapping her arm to tell the
engineers what to do. It seemed
foolish but the project was
under way again.
For 13 years Washington tapped
out his instructions with his
finger on his wife’s arm, until
the bridge was finally
completed. Today the
spectacular Brooklyn Bridge
stands in all its glory as a tribute
to the triumph of one man’s
indomitable spirit and his
determination not to be
defeated by circumstances. It is
also a tribute to the engineers
and their team work, and to
their faith in a man who was
considered mad by half the
world. It stands too as a
tangible monument to the love
and devotion of his wife who
for 13 long years patiently
decoded the messages of her
husband and told the engineers
what to do.
Perhaps this is one of the best
examples of a never-say-die
attitude that overcomes a
terrible physical handicap and
achieves an impossible goal.
Often when we face obstacles in
our day-to-day life, our hurdles
seem very small in comparison
to what many others have to
face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows
us that dreams that seem
impossible can be realised with
determination and persistence,
no matter what the odds are.

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