On August 17th, I spent the day onsite in Kilgore to witness the placement of the new Kilgore College Pedestrian Bridge. It was 103+ degrees in the shade that day with the signature southern humidity that makes you and your clothes feel like you just walked out of a swamp - damp, sticky, and stinky.
The bridge setting was momentous and long-awaited, taking place some four years after it had been irreparably damaged when a semi-truck miscalculated the height of the bridge, or his truck, or both. Neighbors from surrounding homes, passersby, college officials, and even the media turned out to watch. There were so many watching remotely on the Kilgore College live feed bridge-cam that the connection would lag and drag from the high volume of internet traffic to that site.
With all eyes on the bridge, it was easy to not even notice the men who were putting in the sweat and energy to get that bridge some 20 feet in the air and set it perfectly on the receiving platforms of the access towers on each side of the street.
But, I did.
I watched a construction team work together for more than 12 hours in the kind of perfect synchronization that can only come from experience and know-how. As the equipment hummed and the back-up warning beepers sounded, it was humbling to watch these construction professionals in continuous movement, never once complaining about the brutal heat or long hours. It made me think of how many times I've passed a construction crew working on roads or building projects without ever giving them a second thought, or doing more than grumble about the inconvenience to navigate around them. I was humbled.
Construction is just one of the many professions in our country that keep us going and make our lives easier. The men, and even women, who roll up their sleeves and literally work in the trenches are titans, the proverbial unsung heroes, and deserving of our notice and our gratitude. Giants still roam this earth, wearing hardhats and neon safety vests.
So next time you pass a construction site on your way to dine, shop, or get to that little league baseball game, take a moment to notice their work and maybe throw up your hand in a friendly southern wave. These professionals have earned it.