Magna Carta

By Bryan Widener

Bryan and Tower Bridge_c

Bryan Widener in front of Tower Bridge

England’s history is a long and interesting one. England boasted the most powerful navy in the world for over a century and for centuries was the world’s largest and mightiest empire.  Having the opportunity to see the results of the actions taken by the leaders of such a long-standing world power is as much an honor as it is interesting.

Thus far we have sampled the vast knowledge of the British people in the British Library, the world’s largest library (by number of items cataloged).  We then bore witness to a collection of works and artifacts that is among the largest and most comprehensive in the world as we toured the British Museum.  Both of these wondrous sites have given me a new perspective on life.  This might seem a hyperbole or at least extreme to some, but it is the truth.

In less than one week, I have seen original copies of the Magna Carta, the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Bill of Rights in a special exhibit at the British Library.  These three documents are legendary and groundbreaking.  They speak volumes of the British people as well as of the American people.  The Magna Carta resounds in the U.S. Bill of Rights.  Our right to bear arms stems, in a way, from the Magna Carta, as does our right to private property.  So essentially, our independence could not exist today were it not for the very nation we declared independence from.  So the history of the British people can quite easily be linked to ours.

We also took a day trip to the historic town of York and had a spectacular Beefeater-led tour of the Tower of London.  Having served in the military, I have traveled to many nations and seen many things.  My experiences are many, but never have I had an experience as fulfilling and so satisfying.  Should you ever be presented with the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom, I strongly suggest you take it.