In 1620 a ship called the Mayflower sailed from England to the New World. On board the ship was a group of Puritans who would later be known as the Pilgrim Fathers. The Mayflower left the British port of Plymouth on September 6, 1620 and arrived in America on November 11, 1620 in what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts.
In 1620 that group of men, women and children went down these steps to face the unknown. I cannot imagine what they must have felt; whether they realized that they would be making history and that, 400 years later the name of every single person on board The Mayflower (including a baby born at sea and appropriately named Oceanus) would be immortalized on a plaque in downtown Plymouth.
I do not think that I was as moved as my American husband by this simple monument that commemorates the birth of America as we know it, but I was still in awe that I was able to retrace the footsteps of history.
I stood at the top of that short flight of steps and I wondered – if it were me standing there 400 years ago, would I have had the courage and conviction to board that rickety ship and face untold dangers and violent storms to gain my freedom? Or would I have turned back and walked to persecution and obscurity? Deep in my heart I was glad that I am lucky enough not have to make that choice. The irony that this has come about due to the very people who sailed from here at so much personal sacrifice, was not lost on me.
The Mayflower Monument
Location: The Barbican, Plymouth, UK (July 2012)