The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US. It stretches for 1.825km over the East River, connecting the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn on Long Island. On completion, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge in an 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. The Brooklyn Bridge has 6 lanes, and is sheduled for it’s first rehabilitation exercise in 2009. Since its opening, it has become an iconic part of the New York skyline. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
While many bridges built around the same time have collapsed and crumbled, the Brooklyn Bridge still stands tall and strong, upholding one of the rarest of human values required for achievement. This bridge is not just a bridge, it’s a bridge with touching lessons, it’s the hallmark of one man’s determination and indomitable spirit, a tribute to one woman’s love and devotion, and a story of team work and faith by the Engineers that constructed it. The same world that said it can’t be done, celebrated it. What has the world shown you can’t be done?
In 1870, a creative engineer named John Roebling got inspired to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. Bridge building experts world over however told him that his idea was impossible. They told him it wasn’t practical and it couldn’t be done. They adviced him to forget it. Roebling however could not ignore the vision he had in mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time, and knew in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with the right person.
Thoughts: Remember, novices built the ark, and experts built the titanic. The real motivation for doing what you want to do shouldn’t be what people said. Everything in the world today started as an idea, even you. When an idea is yours, it’s bugging. Atimes we let it just slip away and die, atimes we rise to the challenge. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?”. If it resonnates with a deep why, and you know in your heart it can be done, go for it!
He shared this idea with his son Washington who was an upcoming Engineer. He managed to persuade him that it could be done, and together, they started this project. 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 injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to walk or talk or even move.
1. All you need to get going on your dream, is the right patnership, the right friend, the right ally, the right colleagues. Ideas divide in the presence of the wrong person, and multiplies in the presence of the right people. If you idea keeps getting weaker when you discuss it, you are talking to dream killers.
2. All dreams have their set backs. Every journey it’s bus-stops, junctions or roundabouts. Sometimes they are mere setbacks, in rare occassions, the visioneer dies. This is the highest form of setback that can ever happen to any dream – the demise of the dreamer. How bad is your setback?
The accident made the headliines of private discussions – “We told them it couldn’t be done, it’s foolish to chase crazy visions, this useless project cost them their lives”. Tongues wagged. Nonetheless, what had happened was not sufficient to dissuade Washington from achieving the objectives they had set out to achieve. 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.
Thoughts: Where there is a will, there is always a way. Ways cease when wills die. It may require fresh thinking, it may require a fresh breath of inspiration from God, but once the will to succeed exists, a way can always be created. With his back on the bed, unable to talk or walk, this man used one finger to build a 1.8km bridge.
Washington tapped his wife’s arm and the project began. The wife had to learn non verbal communication, learn some engineering and painstakingly understand and translate what the husband was communicating to the on-site engineers.
For 13yrs, his wife, Emily took tapped out instructions from her husbands functional finger, until the bridge was completed. When the bridge was completed, she was the first person to ever cross the bridge. Against the highest odds ever stacked against any known project, the world’s possibly strongest and long standing suspension bridge was built, by wills of steel, an indomitable spirit, a wifes love and devotion, a teams unity and faith and loads of patience, determination and perseverance.
Thoughts: Armed with words, we find it difficult to communicate effectively with one another, this woman took instructions with finger tapping, from a near commatose husband. It didn’t happen in 3 weeks, it took 13yrs and they must have had all sorts of setbacks, but they completed the project. Analysis of this project shows, that the bidge was designed to be six times stronger than was required. 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.
25 thoughts on “Bridge Built with One Finger”
Chei! how i wish 3rd mainland bridge could last this long, maybe it will. I have read this story before, but the thoughts added brought new life, meaning and lessons to it. Where were the nay Sayers after it was built? we should be careful not bring in noisy negatives into our dreams otherwise our dreams will experience miscarriage- God forbid!
Thanks Deolu for the thought line.
A bridge connects two separated islands (Moving from Reality to Dreamland) and for me I wish this kind of story can inspire a generation to say no to the impossible. For Me the impossibility is the grand orchestration Nigeria which has until now been defying all the normal rules and principles, refusing to budge and take a turn in the right direction. This works you started may just be a speck now but I am persuaded it will go a long way. Please keep on writing you never can tell who will be inspired cos you just added value for me today. Cheerio
Reading this story and your annotations bring tears to my eyes, feeling stupid for having aborted some dreams cause it didn’t sound good to people you have rightly named dream killers, my resolve to be different and not be content with the ordinary received a boost and I will not rest until I secure a place with the gods. Coming here regularly has remained for me a blessing.
Chairman, again you have “wowed” me.
Being in the civil engineering industry, this post is quite graphic and real to me. I think this is the most life changing post I’ve ever read on this site and possibly on the whole of the internet.
Going into the minds of these great dreamers and achievers most times leaves me breathless. This is quite awesome. I am definitely printing this off to send to other colleagues and fellow dreamers to challenge them too, and I’m bookmarking this page right away.
Thanks once again for sharing. God bless you.
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Many things world over has been tagged as impossible,but ordinary men with extra ordinary desires have proved them wrong over and over again.With God all things are possible.What is impossible with men is possible with God.Am sure God saw today when they said ‘it cannot be done’.
A strong determination and will leads to greatness!
Great things can be done greatly,
With a great mind,
A great courage,
A great energy,
And a great persistent patience.
God bless you!
This is awesome, so much to learn from this story, but i’ll highlight this one……
Women, there’s a need to use our influence in getting things done, positively; let’s be assets to our husbands – dependable. The bridge is there today because Emily was committed, devoted and patient for 13years!
I’m inspired to forge ahead despite whatever…
i know i am capable of far more than i am doing.
but what am i capable of?
if i know i would channel energy in that direction and dream big
with determination and perseverance i will make those dreams reality.
not like i dont know
i’m finding out
but the mirror tell better
all those who need to kno more like me, look in d mirror (ask a friend)
thanks for the post
i’m touched (and i’m not usually touched)
u always keep it coming deolu,u just wowed me!
Good One. This story is thought provoking and has kept me thinking since morning when i read it. One thing i kept thinking of which may be funny to some but extremely important is that God should not fail to give me a good wife. I mean HE JUST SHOULD NOT FAIL.
It reminded me of John Nash the mathematical Economist, and the role of his wife in bringing him fame. Well may be i am taking it into a different dimension, but this is what i see, a good wife builds her home (husband and family). I am inspired, and will seek God fervently for my missing rib.
Will someone help me with this, one of my goals for this year is to take a particular professional course, I planned this about a year ago. I couldn’t take the course in October cos I did not have enough money. The course is coming up again for the last time this year in Nov. and a few days away, but my boss is reluctant to grant me leave for a few days. If he does not allow me to take the course my plans for next year will be adversely affected. I’m also thinking about my future at this office, I might have to leave earlier than I planned.
This is mind blowing!!!!!!!!!!!
Dreams? Will? Setback? Then comes the Bridge!!!!!
I guess Washinton and his dad weren’t close to being the best engineers as at that time because if they were, am sure people would not have mocked them.
“God qualifies the called” so why hang arround hoping somthing will happen, why not make somthing happen!!
In my little understanding this has refreshened me a great deal.
A Virtuous woman?……Her ways pleases her husband all the days of her life (note: not his life but as long as she stays alive all her ways pleases the husband be he diabled / bedridden or even dead! yes!).
This is wonderful!!!!!
ok…who would join me…lets tap the fourth mainland bridge into existence…
read the story before but it’s comes fresh and inspiring to me today as i have being busy in my brain ruminating about a project i want to embark on. thanks for the advice as regard right partnership.
To our friend Sogo, i think it’s about conviction. If the course is important to you than your job, resign from the job and go for it. It’s better you leave the job than miss the course and start performing poorly on the job. If you are not allowed to take the course, you will surely have an illfeelings towards your boss and your performance on the job will likely drop.
If your performance drops, you will eventually be shown the way out.
Why not follow your dreams and resign the job.
From this write up i came to a conclusion, “There is no impossibility anywhere, every man’s fear and ignorance is his impossibility”.
Great piece and inspiring, there are enough story in history to establish the fact that anything is possible to him the believes and pursues his dream with passion, not to talk of a collective move a people to dream and actualise their dream. You have just refreshed me again.
This is awesomely interesting.
There are so many lessons to learn from this.It is touching yet very inspiring.
This is really really interesting and inspiring.
I have had this dream God revealed to me months ago about the next focus for my life but have been so nervous about taking the neccessary steps towards the achievement of this dream. The fear of failure and the unknown has so much been restricting me that I was beginning to doubt my capabilities to achieve this dream.
However, after reading this piece, i feel re-inspired. The actualisation of a dream is fully dependent on the dreamer taking that bold step not withstanding all odds/criticisms/obstacles and never giving up.
To him that believes, nothing is impossible.
Thanks Deolu. You are surely a blessing to our generation.
what an inspiring story i must confess.not many after the fatal accident that would have contunued but the truth is, vision is a very powerful tool and also it energizes. vision is seeing the end of any project and coming back to the present, making plans on how to get there. that was what kept the son going despite losing his father and the limitation in his health.
now i know why Beckham named his son Brooklyn.
This bridge is not just a bridge, it’s a bridge with touching lessons, it’s the hallmark of one man’s determination and indomitable spirit, a tribute to one woman’s love and devotion, and a story of team work and faith by the Engineers that constructed it.
This is breathtaking! i got the message and this place hits me so well. together we can, but it begins from some where-ONE MAN; he decided to move against all odds.
A dream i once decided to act on was rendered handicapped because i shared it with with dream killers…it was as if you were talking to me to talk less and act more.
the time has come to build the tall and strong bridge.
Oga, Sir this is so encouraging and at the same time thought provoking. It’s good to have dreams, make decisions to fulfill this dreams, be patient through the challenging period but much more it’s good to be determined.
Determination is the key to great achievements. Even when hell let lose and all, I mean everything seems not to be working, even when your family don’t believe in your dream. It’s still your dream, don’t give up, be determined. in a short while they will begin to get curious and concern why you are so dogged on your dream, someone would start believing in you, start seeing reasons with you.
I love some folks in the Bible, Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego they made decision to serve Jehovah and they were determined about it. Even at the Point of Death they stood by their decision. Someone said if what you believe in is not worth dieing for, then it’s not worth believing in.
Dreams will come true, if we don’t quit.