Day Fourteen

2013 May 8-11 Berkshires MA 061We decided on a shorter excursion for the day and backtracked a bit into Springfield, MA, the capital.  There we visited the National Park that was once the Springfield Armory.  I had known since I was a little girl that “Springfield” and “rifle” went together, but I never knew why or how.  Touring the old armory was a lesson in necessity, creativity, invention, and the hard work of thousands of people.  From the 1790’s, the Springfield Armory produced rifles for American troops and the production allowed our country independence from foreign arms.  2013 May 8-11 Berkshires MA 056At first, each rifle was individually crafted and forged.  Eventually, the ingenuity of a worker led to the creation of a lathe that could guarantee the mass production of identical rifle stocks.  This and other cutting edge changes were the first evidence of the industrial revolution in this country.  2013 May 8-11 Berkshires MA 048The Springfield M1 rifle, or the “Springfield ‘03” (as my dad reverently called it – because it was first manufactured in 1903) is still considered the most accurate rife ever made.  The factory was decommissioned in 1968 and now is a museum to the creativity of a young country struggling to defend itself from dangers, both near and far.

While the history was fascinating, I couldn’t help but think how far – and yet, not so far, our country has come in the past 200 years.  It seems a shame that anyone would need or want a rifle for any purpose in today’s world.  And I began to daydream about what the adjacent museum to the armory might look like in the future (and, hopefully, the not too far and distant future).  Perhaps there could be an institute explaining the mechanics of communication, interpersonal as well as business, corporate, and global.  Perhaps it could display the effects of the ingenuity of people who discovered ways to negotiate and creatively resolve conflicts and disagreements of every kind.  Perhaps it’s only a dream, but it seems little to ask when we have such huge resources that are continuing to develop weapons.  Can we not also afford some resources going to develop peace?  What a wonderful grace that would be!

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