History Of The Transcontinental Railroad

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One hundred and fifty years ago today the Transcontinental Railroad was officially completed and the final spike was driven. A spike made of pure California gold to symbolize the union between the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroad companies from the west and the north respectively.

This morning I awoke with such a sense of pride, like that of an Olympian earning a medal. I am forced to ponder the idea of why I am feeling this way. Why at 4:30 on a Friday morning, hours before I am typically supposed to be awake. “I haven’t won anything?” or so that is what I perceived to be the truth at the time. What I was blissfully unaware of that morning was the emotional rollercoaster I was buckling the belt to. Seven weeks ago today I was invited to take part in the sesquicentennial celebration of the driving of the Golden Spike. They wanted to organize a band! I won’t lie, I didn’t pay attention to Utah History. So this was something I didn’t know anything about. Initially, I turned the offer down because I didn’t think I would have time. I rethought the offer and accepted it, and the adventure was on. For the following weeks, we practiced and practiced and practiced.

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To experience the amount of effort that went into this celebration was enough to give someone chills. On the drive-in, on one side of the road were hundreds of American flags and on the other were signs thanking the people who made the celebration possible. When we arrived at Promontory Point it was 7:30 in the morning and already there were hundreds of people waiting for the celebration to begin which didn’t even actually begin for another three and a half hours. The fact that people were willing to be there that early in the morning to see the event spoke volumes to me. For the hours after we arrived, we watched more and more people pour out of their cars and into the sun everyone just intently waiting for an event one hundred and fifty years in the making.

The Celebration began with the band playing a few pieces we had practiced for this very moment. if you had told me a few years ago that I would be playing music in front of hundreds if not thousands of people I would have laughed in your face. Playing music is a thing I have loved to do for many years and to do it in such a huge celebration is something I will remember forever. Next, there were speakers and presenters from all areas of the nation. There was a Native American Chief who gave his entire address to the crowd in his native language and was followed by a traditional Native American song. A presentation from Connie Yu who is a historian with the Chinese Historical Society of America paying tribute to the countless nameless Chinese laborers lost in history. Speeches from President Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Secretary of The Interior David Bernhardt, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. As well as a few others. I had the opportunity to have perfect seat to see the whole thing and I noticed one trend throughout the entire celebration, the crowd gave undivided attention to every single man and woman who had the opportunity to speak at this historic event. It didn’t matter what religion you were or what political party you were a part of. The things being celebrated today were universally felt.

So to answer my question from this morning, Yes you did win something. You won the opportunity to experience something one of a kind and be a part of an event that transcends all human nature. One hundred and fifty years of history built up to this one day, thousands of men died to make this possible. the Irish, Chinese, newly freed African Americans, Mormon Settlers and so many more people, and the culmination of their sacrifices changed the world as Americans knew it. The Golden Spike is so unequivocally American.

The Transcontinental Railroad is not just the story of a railroad. It is the story of America.                     

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History Of The Transcontinental Railroad. (2021, July 15). WritingBros. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/history-of-the-transcontinental-railroad/
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