Monday, May 16, 2011

Determination and Persistence

This is real life story of an engineer. John A Roebling the designer of Brooklyn Bridge and his son Washigton Roebling and daughter in law Emily Warren Roebling.

A  creative engineer John A Roebling was inspired by an idea to built the wire rope suspension bridge connecting New York with Long Island. However, bridge building experts in those time considered  this as an impossible task. This just could not be done. This is impractical and had never been attempted before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision of this bridge in his mind. He thought about it and knew that this could be done.He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washigton, that the bridge 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 in 1869, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. John was standing on the dock and was fixing a location where the bridge could be built, when his feet were crushed by an arriving ferry. His injured toes were amputated and he refused to take further medication. He took water therapy which caused infection that lead to Tetanus and resulted with his death.

In 1870, another accident that broke out fire on the site, left  Washington  injured and he was left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to talk or walk.This made it impossible for him to visit the site.His wife Emily Warren Roebling becoming his nurse, companion, and confidant took over the day-to-day supervision and site visits, and successfully lobbied for retention of him as chief engineer.

All Washigton 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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