Living in the present without desecrating the past is still the challenge to Charleston, America’s most historic looking city. Since the advent of the automobile, Charleston has had the threat of the new American definition of progress challenging historic houses’ right to exist. Due to the indefatigable efforts of early 20th century preservationists like Susan Pringle Frost, founder of the Preservation Society of Charleston in 1920, who outbid Standard Oil for 18th century houses on Rainbow Row, where a service station would have been built along East Bay, followed by Francis Edmunds, director of the Historic Charleston Foundation for almost 40 years, who furthered the charge, Charleston is the most distinctly preserved historic city in America. It has always been a challenge; it still is. The preservation of the Old Charleston way of life, sense of place, and close knit community is what I give you a taste of as if you were old friends from off visiting me for the first time, as well as the history as seen from a South Carolina perspective. So much American history took place right in the Charleston Harbor, which we see at breakfast from my friend’s home and B&B on East Battery. Hands on history is the best way to learn, with quotes from diaries and letters and speeches. George Washington’s words at Ground Zero, the neighborhood of his inauguration, still pertain to us. He like many of our Founding Fathers looked ahead to where we are today, knowing the challenges that come with the blessings of Liberty they procured for us. Just as “the Spirit of God hovered over the waters” at the Genesis of creation, so, too, the mind of the Founding Fathers contained the vision and pitfalls of all that was to come. “Propitious smiles from Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards eternal rules of Order and Right, which Heaven has ordained. The preservation of the sacred fire of LIBERTY… is the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
And so the experiment of LIBERTY goes on. We are the ones upon whom those sacred fires depend to burn brightly. “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shown unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation. We have noted these things here so that you might see their worth and not negligently lose what your Fathers have obtained WITH SO MUCH HARDSHIP. ” William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation. May we each rise to the challenges in our daily walk to be the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, realizing the part we each play as only we can to keep America strong. The preservation of the sacred fires of LIBERTY is the “Fire, fire burning bright” entrusted to us.
We were thirteen colonies that bound together. 1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter. Love will bind us together, from sea to shining sea, as hot coals touching each other create a flame bigger than alone.
Come to Charleston to get refueled. “Walk on, walk on, with Hope in your heart, and you never walk alone. You never walk alone.” I sang these words at my own graduation and have had them in my mind and on my lips with my first born’s college graduation corresponding with my dear mother in hospital for a 16 hour throat cancer “flap” surgery May 8. May 9th I flew out to attend Olivia’s graduation from Rhodes College, torn between two loves and loyalties. See Rhodes College