Hello dear readers, I apologize for the prolonged absence from these pages but the last few weeks have been full of events and opportunities for me and I will have the pleasure to document them here in the near future.
The time has come to reach the end of this journey which begun a few weeks ago, the Boston Freedom Trail. Today we shall see the most impressive landmarks that I have had the pleasure to visit and which, in my opinion, are a symbol of how this city is attached to its landmarks.
Paul Revere House
This house, one of the oldest buildings in the city, was the home of one of the great founding fathers who lived here, together with his wife and their nine children for their entire lives. From here he left for the famous ride to warn other Lexinton “Children of Freedom”, Sam Adams and John Hancock, that a British contingent was about to attack them. This ride is told, in an endless number of stories and poems of different periods, and is represented in an impressive monument that can be seen along the path, right next to the house, that takes the visitor to the next landmark found on the trail.
Towards the end of the 800s, the house became a sort of primary care centre for Irish, Jews and Italian migrants who arrived in the city. Today it has been turned into a museum and contains a reconstruction of a typical colonial house of the eighteenth century.
The Old North Church
Built in 1723 as a Catholic church, today it is an Episcopal centre of religious life for Boston’s Catholics . This old building also played an important role during the revolution, it was used in fact to alert, with its high bell tower, that the British were about to attack the nearby town of Carlestown. Two lanterns were hung on top of the building, as agreed, to signal and warn other Children of the Freedom, that the redcoats would attack from the sea; “One if by land, two if by sea” reads in fact, the poem by Longfellow that gave its fame to this building in the pages of history.
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
This large cemetery of revolutionary Boston hosts personalities from the merchant and business world, which for centuries had been the heart of the economy of this great port city. Here can be found two priests, who have played an important role during the famous witch trials that took place in Salem, a town not far from Boston.
This warship was the first to be commissioned from the newly created United States, in 1797, is still registered at the naval military register of the US Navy and holds a crew and officers. Although its role is only celebratory “Old Ironsides” has gained hits nickname while patrolling all the Americas facing the Atlantic, from Labrador to Brazil, during the war of 1812 against England. Unfortunately, when I visited the basins that serve as home to this “old lady” the ship was being restored. I felt better afterwards when I visited the Destroyer “Cassin Young,” which was moored next to her. This ship served during World War II and during the visit, I was accompanied by friendly octogenarians explaining to the children how powerful and loud the anti-aircraft was and how many enemies they could kill the many “mouths of fire” that could be found around the ship.
This visit was emblematic of the value that the military culture has in the hearts and minds of Americans: not only the guides were proud of their service but also the youngsters listened enraptured by their stories. I would like to take this opportunity to refute all the stereotypes, one sees on the media, about the elderly and how their stories are a bore and a ‘waste of time. For those who still have this opportunity, I do not think that there isn’t a better way to understand who we are, if not through the stories told by the elderly about how we were. And if those stories come from people who are a direct source, then there’s no doubt that they are more than just interesting; I give you my word as an historian.
Bunker Hill Monument
It is right on top of this hill that on June 17, 1775 the first real and fierce battle of the American Revolutionary War began. Here, a contingency of poorly armed and badly-equipped settlers for three days resisted before surrendering to the British war machine, but not before causing’ huge losses among the redcoats and showing them what was the determination of the “Sons of Liberty”. The obelisk, whose foundation stone was laid by one of the veterans of those bloody days, today stands as a symbol of the town ofCharlestown and offers a view of the city that you could not see even from the tallest skyscraper. The 394 steps are a small price to pay to get to the top of this hill and, if only for a moment, imagine being able to peek through the ranks of the soldiers who have defended freedom and independence of the American people.
Here, on top of Bunker Hill, ends the Boston Freedom Trail. I hope that this long walk among the monuments and the history ofBoston have given you a new perspective in your travels.
I also hope that when you will be in front of a monument, a painting, a statue or a grave, questions will arise and create in you a thirst for knowledge like the one that drives me in my studies and in my travels.
See you soon with my next article and I recommend also to follow me on Instagram because the camera has never been idle and various projects were started during these past weeks of silence. So stay tuned and keep travelling !!