The Miracle Bridge

Adapted by Azeezah Jameelah Mohamed Mohideen (

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with Long Island. Bridge-building experts throughout the world thought this was impossible and told Roebling to forget it.

However, Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind. He thought about the bridge all the time and believed it could be built. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion, John succeeded in convincing his son Washington, an up-and-coming engineer, to work with him.

Joining forces for the first time, both father and son developed concepts of how the bridge could be made a reality. With great excitement, inspiration and the headiness of tackling a great challenge, they hired their crew and commenced to build their dream bridge.

Alas, a few months later, a tragic accident took place on the site. It took the life of John Roebling. Washington was injured and suffered brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to walk, talk or even move.

“We told them so.”
“Crazy men and their crazy dreams.”
“It’s foolish to chase wild visions.”

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how to build the bridge. But Washington was not discouraged although he was then handicapped. He still had a burning desire to complete the bridge.

As Washington lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly, an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving the finger, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then, he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed tedious but the project was under way again. For 13 years, Washington tapped out instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today, the Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances.

Adapted from: Determination & Persistence - A True Motivational Story. Retrieved August 12, 2010, from http://www. html

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