By David Lowe Cozad
I grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, which is about as far away from the Bunker Hill monument as one can get while still standing on American soil. As I assume may be the case with many born on the other coast of the country, my knowledge of Bunker Hill did not expand far beyond what was covered by my history teachers.
Since moving to Charlestown, I have become enamored with the monument that many have cherished for so long. My nightly walks around the grounds with my wife and dog led me to do some further research on the battle itself and the lasting impact it left. I recently read Nathaniel Philbrick’s book Bunker Hill, and my reading, well, it led me right back to that hill. Back to the granite obelisk at the heart of our town. Back to where it all began.
Coming off of a year that was often bleak for so many Americans, we should take comfort in the hope that the monument represents. If only those citizen-soldiers Philbrick writes about so eloquently could see Bunker Hill today. They would experience the chirping of birds, the panting of canines, the socializing of adults, and most importantly, the laughter of children. If only they could see the fruits of their sacrifice. They would see a community – where once there was a war. And that is something we should all take pride in and do our part to ensure it endures.
Documentarian and fellow proud New Englander Ken Burns calls our national parks “America’s best idea.” Thanks to the numerous park rangers and volunteers who make it all possible, we can see first-hand every day in Charlestown why that statement rings true.
Even though our formal day of Bunker Hill appreciation is still a few months away – we can, and should, no matter the day, appreciate just how lucky we are to have this beautiful monument right in our own backyard.
David Lowe Cozad is a local writer. You can find his short stories, book reviews, and other works on his blog www.libraryeightyeight.com.