By Nick Chase‘
I grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, and my elementary and high-school education was infused with the history that was all around us, so I was very curious to know just how the shutdown of the nation’s parks had affected my most favorite part of Minute Man National Park — the Old North Bridge.
Had the Park Service wrapped the iconic Minute Man sculpture by Daniel Chester French in burlap, so the tourists couldn’t see it? I took a few minutes on a perfectly gorgeous Columbus Day to find out.
As I expected, the parking lots had been chained off, the bathrooms were locked, and the park headquarters (the old Stedman Buttrick Georgian-style mansion) was closed up. Monument Street (foreground in the picture) is actually a long residential street with parking allowed along most of it, and with parking prohibited only in the immediate vicinity of the Bridge. So some tourists had parked by the side of the road and walked a few hundred feet to the Bridge.
Fortunately for visitors, The Old Manse, the Revolutionary-era home of the Rev. William Emerson, and situated on a nine-acre parcel abutting the Bridge and the Concord River, is owned by the Trustees of Reservations — and is not part of the national park system. It was not shut down.
The Trustees thoughtfully provided parking in their big open field for people who dared to defy the shutdown of the park.
It’s only a short walk from The Old Manse to the pathway running from Monument Street to the Old North Bridge. You can see that “Area Closed” signs were posted, but there was no further effort to barricade people from walking on the public’s property.
On most Columbus Day holidays, with such beautiful weather, this walkway to the Bridge would be teeming with tourists. Not this year.
No barricades were erected to prevent tourists from crossing the Bridge. (This would have been the easiest and most effective place to erect barricades to hassle people.)
As you can see, people could freely walk the park grounds on both sides of the river. They could learn about and enjoy the history of the place, using their own resources, just as had been done for the 185 years before the National Park Service took over the place. No “recreating” prohibited here!
The Minute Man — enduring symbol of our hard-won freedoms.
Perhaps the park rangers, who instruct thousands of visitors each year on how America’s freedoms were fought for and won, actually had absorbed the lessons they were teaching, and would have been so deeply ashamed about shutting off public access to land the public owns (and which our forebears fought to set free) that they couldn’t bring themselves to do it.
Or perhaps, the further away we get from the cesspool that is DC, and the more removed we are from the vindictive actions of Obama and Valerie Jarrett, the more likely it is that common sense will prevail.
About the author: Nick Chase is a retired but still very active technical writer, technical editor, computer programmer and stock market newsletter writer. During his career he has produced documentation on computers, typewriters, typesetters, headline-makers, and other pieces of equipment most people never heard of, and he has programmed typesetting equipment. You can read more of his work on the American Thinker website and at contrariansview.org.