Standing on Their Shoulders

I mentioned a few days ago I’d spent some time in the UK recently.  I made a point to cram in as much of the history as I possibly could.  And history from all periods in time.  I went to Stonehenge with it’s mystical stone formations from people long disappeared.  From there to Stratford where Mr. Shakespeare was born and raised and returned once his success was ensured.  He was a climber of the first degree.  He built a then, and actually still today, huge 22 room house to show those townspeople what the glove maker’s son had achieved.  And in the meantime introduced to the world over a thousand words and hundreds of phrases still in use today.  Then to the palace’s and castles of the Kings and Queens of the Tudors, Stewarts, Hanovers and Windsors that led to the formation of the good ol’ USA and the eventual up-yours of the Revolutionary War.  Realizing I was standing on floors older than my entire country is a bit sobering.  And that includes the James Colony settlers.  Then to the only surviving original operating room (remember I’m a medical geek) and all the scary gadgets that passed for medical instruments back then.  Finally to the horrific and unrelenting conditions of the London blitz during World War II.  The smoke, darkness and confusion must have been overwhelming.

Being lucky enough to be able to see these amazing and important places and to have the thirst for knowing more is a gift I am most grateful for.  I realized somewhere along the way that all these things and many, many more, lead to where I am at the moment.  The struggle of early women for equality.  The rise of the middle class and the expansion of education for all.  The artists and performers that braved humiliation and sometimes persecution to bring art to all.  The formidable thinkers who saw far beyond their place and situation in time and created laws and institutions that protect and motivate todays leaders.  I could go on and on.  As I sometimes do.  But my long winded point here is that none of this happened in a vacuum for any of us and it ain’t a bad idea to get a little familiar with whose shoulders you’re standing on as you climb out of your current place on to the next rung in the ladder.  I know you’ll find my boob tube tuned to the History Channel a bit more in the future.

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