Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Freedom Trail
It would be easy to go on in this vein, waxing comic about Boston's history, and there is something deeply silly about walking two miles to stand in front of a building where something happened two hundred years ago. But by golly, I won't make fun of this. Who's the poet who said, "Lives there a man with soul so dead that never to himself hath said, 'this is mine own, my native land'?" Any American who isn't stirred to walk the streets of Boston just needs more stirring, that's all. When people were just starting to consider the possibility of genuine rights, the Bostonians got it. They opened the first public school in the colonies, stipulating that Indians be educated free. In the same burial ground as John Hancock, so wealthy he once tossed gold coins at passersby from his phaeton, lie African Americans like Crispus Attucks and Phyllis Wheatley. Bostonians fought from mixed and often far from honorable motives, but it also produced men like John Adams who acted as lawyer on behalf of the British prosecuted for the Boston Massacre. They were not afraid, the best of them, to give their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor. Walking the Freedom Trail reminded me of the best of what it means to be American. God bless Boston.