We had a great experience at the Brooklyn Bridge last week! The MTC youth gathered on the Manhattan side of the bridge and walked across together, stopping along the way to discuss its history and architecture while drawing Gospel analogies about building a strong testimony.
The weight of the Brooklyn Bridge is supported by two towers, which we likened to two of the most important components of the Atonement: redemption and resurrection. We can think of one tower as representing redemption, or salvation from sin, while the other tower represents resurrection, or salvation from death. Together, redemption and resurrection allow us to overcome the challenges of mortality. Faith in the Atonement is the core of a strong testimony and the structure upon which everything else depends, just as the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge are the strongest points upon which the rest of the bridge hangs.
The bridge is held up and stabilized by three separate support systems: a cable suspension system, a secondary system of diagonal cables, and an underlying web truss. These three systems can be likened to personal revelation, scripture study, and the words of modern-day leaders -- the sources of information, comfort, and strength to support our faith in Christ and His Atonement. Finally, the entire bridge is anchored in the deep bedrock below the East River, which is as constant and unshakable as God's love for us.
With the glow of the city lights in the distance, it was wonderful to discuss these gospel principles on the magnificent structure of the Brooklyn Bridge, which has a unique history of its own. We've included a few interesting facts about the bridge at the bottom of this post.
We finished up the activity eating Grimaldi's pizza at the other side of the bridge, in Brooklyn. Our stomachs and our souls were equally filled!
FUN FACTS (& SOME SAD ONES) ABOUT THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE:
- At the time it opened, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, & the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere.
- The initial designer, John Augustus Roebling, had his foot crushed while working one day on the site. After his toes were amputated, he developed tetanus from the procedure & died.
- His son, Washington Roebling, took over the project, only to be afflicted by decompression sickness when he came up too fast from the depths of the construction site while working on the bridge. Washington was sadly bedridden for the remainder of the construction of the bridge, but managed the project from his apartment window.
- Washington’s wife, Emily Warren Roebling, took over on-site supervision & acted as a liaison between her husband & the construction workers. She studied higher mathematics, details of cable construction, bridge specifications, & more to assist in the 11-year project.
- Emily Warren Roebling was the first person to cross the completed bridge.
- The original toll for crossing the bridge was one penny.
- To squash rumors that the bridge was weak and would soon collapse (and to advertise for his circus), P.T. Barnum sent 21 elephants, led by the famous Jumbo, all the way across.
- 120,000 cars, 4,000 pedestrians, and 2,600 cyclists cross the bridge each day.