Editorial: A beacon of light
Some may argue that this may not be the best time to spend money on preserving a lighthouse that no longer serves as a beacon to passing ships. After all, there are more pressing needs. Budgets are strained to the breaking point. We are in the midst of an economic downturn and deficits are continuing to mount.
But, thankfully, the members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board saw things differently.
New Point Lighthouse may not serve the intended purpose for which it was built over 200 years ago—ocean-going vessels no longer rely on its light to steer clear of rocky shores—but it serves a function perhaps just as valuable.
The lighthouse is a tangible reminder of who we were, as a people and a nation. The United States, as we know it today, was a mere 18 years old when its light was first lit. The fledgling nation didn’t extend far beyond the confines of the East Coast.
We were a new country, but we were determined to become a major player on the world stage. New Point Lighthouse was our calling card to let the nations of Europe know that we were here to stay. The United States of America is open for business.
Over the years, New Point Lighthouse has been a mute witness to the unfolding of our nation’s history—the closing days of the slave trade; the War of 1812 that let the world know once and for all that this was no longer an English colony; the bloody conflict that tore the country in two and stitched us back more unified and stronger than before; the vessels laden with U.S.-made manufactured goods heading to foreign ports; the rise of a mighty navy through two world wars.
New Point Lighthouse has survived it all. After all that, it would be a sin to stand by idly and watch it slowly crumble into the Chesapeake Bay. Forgotten. Cast aside.
New Point Lighthouse not only represents who we are, but also who we will be. And in preserving this monument for future generations, it shows a nation proud of its heritage and one that will continue to be a beacon of light to the rest of the world.