I waited 60 years to visit New England. Now I’ve made two trips in four months. Upfront, the most unfortunate part was that it wasn’t done on two wheels. Nonetheless, it was a fun time.
Any travel in New England is a tour through history. Significant battle sites or events leading to our United States are at, or near – everywhere. On a beach 50 miles from Provincetown, 393 years after the Mayflower landed, we celebrated Ryan and Kristen’s Cape Cod wedding. We enjoyed clam chowder, lobster, and lots of drink; while those early settlers were happy with turkey and fresh water.
It was an opportune time to visit my friend, Peter, in Vermont, the 50th state I have visited. (It’s a weak technicality, but I once got off a plane in Anchorage, Alaska, while it refueled.) Peter is history literate and takes me to early battle grounds and old trappers routes. Nowadays, the mountains are infiltrated with ski lodges, golf courses, hiking and biking trails, and plenty of Harleys roll over it’s fantastic trails too.
On my return to Boston, coincidently on 9/11, I visited the Massachusetts Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery. A beautiful setting for America’s heroes. A large tranquil vacant turf area surrounds hundreds of head stones. It’s sad to think that area will only get smaller. May it take an eternity.
I rolled into Cambridge and stop at the MIT Museum. Lots of interesting stuff in there. Of particular interest is a set of inline reduction gears, about 40 gears total. The first one spins quickly, but it will be 13.7 BILLION years before the last gear makes one revolution. On that turn, the estimated age of the universe will be 27.4 BILLION years old. However, soon after 1/3 of a revolution, the gears, the museum, Boston, and the earth will be consumed by our exploding Sun.
Relatively speaking, that’s an infinite amount of time, but my parking meter is running out. I’ve been warned, a lot of Boston’s budget is filled from parking tickets. I make a leisure drive to the North End to board Old Ironsides – the USS Constitution. Built in 1797, it’s the oldest battleship in the US Navy. She carries volumes of naval history. The USS Cassin Young, DD 793, is tied up nearby. This destroyer was in the same fleet as my Dads in WW II. They saw plenty of action and survived the worst storm in naval history in Dec. 1945, when three destroyers and 1,000 men were lost to the sea.
I easily found my way to the Boston Commons. By sheer coincidence, I was in time to attend the annual Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony. The Firefighters Honor Guard was accompanied by a Bag Pipe and Drum Team for the march to the State House. The music was deafening in the narrow streets. A host of dignitaries spoke in remembrance of fallen, in particular those of 911 and the Boston bombing, with reverence to the families left behind. It was an honor to meet these brave first responders and dignitaries, unfortunately, I didn’t catch up with the Governor.
Ryan and Kristen’s wedding was a grand celebration, and his commitment to the US Coast Guard makes us proud too. The tours through US history were interesting, and the visit to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery was humbling. The Firefighters ceremony was a reminder to the courage and commitment of special people who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect life and property.
Freedom and Safety are not free. Thank a Vet and a Firefighter.
Enjoy the Spirit.