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Determination and Persistence

This is a real life story of engineer John Roebling building the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, USA back in 1870. The bridge was completed in 1883, after 13 years.


In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.

The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was also injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to talk or walk.

“We told them so.” “Crazy men and their crazy dreams.” “It’s foolish to chase wild visions.”

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built.

In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever. He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task.

As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.

Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal.

Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realised with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are.

• back to main page to read more: inspirational stories and motivational stories.

{ 126 comments… add one }
  • Priyanshi July 6, 2019, 1:03 pm

    Great motivational story,it inspired me a lot and I hope whoever will read it will definitely be inspired by this, amazing ,wonderful

  • Wildestdreams June 23, 2019, 7:46 am

    If not for the patient wife,his dreams might have ended up in a wheelchair

  • Dhana February 19, 2018, 6:06 am

    It’s really wonderful and an inspiring one. I’m really very happy to know that before our strong desire to accomplish our vision nothing can stand… Stronger the vision is, the greater we try to make it….

  • Tanvir Shahriar December 24, 2016, 9:59 am

    In fact I can’t hold my eyes drops. It’s really impressive, amazing, great motivational story. Diligence is a most important thing of a man. They should be patient Who really want to go to their desire destination. Thanks to Authorities to upload such a motivational story.

  • Wisdom Attah Elorm December 1, 2016, 6:31 am

    Such a Wonderful story to read. Truly, determination and persistence can do the impossible.

  • Isaac Kpokpo September 19, 2016, 11:43 am

    A very great one. He was really a hardworking man and for that he has live a legacy and today his name remains here on earth.

  • BMK September 6, 2016, 3:28 am

    Absolutely love it and hope someone is inspired like I am.

  • T N MISHRA April 18, 2016, 4:34 am

    What an inspiring story. Man can fight and win any adversly situation if his or her will power is strong.

  • Ajith January 20, 2016, 2:07 pm

    This story is simply wow…. I came to this site to search a story for my test.. But i ended up reading many stories… All stories are great….. Great work by this site… KEEP IT UP.. AND IMPROVE IT FURTHUR PLS…… I WILL FREQUENTLY COME HERE

  • Pawan kumar January 2, 2016, 8:47 pm

    It gives a great deal of pleasure to read some people who are really great. A great man has quoted “SUCCESS IS 1% INSPIRATION AND 99% PERSPIRATION”. Like Washington, we too should never give up. If we’re trying honestly, one or another day, we would make it.

  • Gaurav pradhan September 3, 2015, 1:19 pm

    It is a very inspirational story
    I can’t tell about this I am speechless

  • Adesina Olukayode Ademola April 16, 2015, 5:21 am

    I am lifted. Indeed nothing would be impossible with solid determination. I praise their courage.

  • Sreekrishnan January 28, 2015, 7:25 am

    Awesome story…really inspiring one….

  • Neil Tagarao October 31, 2014, 10:49 am

    This story has inspired me so much so that I shared it to the students during the two chapel periods. Thank you so much for this story for it helps me, the students and many others around the world to be determined in reaching our dreams in spite of the insurmountable obstacles. God bless you.

    Pastor Neil Tagarao

  • Jayant kenjalkar August 24, 2014, 12:51 pm

    This is a great story made me inspire and feel positive against all the odds, it may take time but its possible very well demonstrated here

  • Md Mohidul Islam June 19, 2014, 1:28 am

    Salute you.

  • Md Mohidul Islam June 19, 2014, 1:28 am

    This is the most inspiration stories i have ever read.salute you Mr Brokney and his abled son.

  • Y.suryakala June 6, 2014, 9:42 pm

    Very inspiring!!!

  • Abhinandan kumar May 28, 2014, 9:32 am

    It’s really inspiring.

  • Napx March 31, 2014, 9:57 am

    Nice story… very very touching..!!!

  • Shakti September 22, 2013, 4:55 am

    Speechless. I will apply it..!

  • Sakthi Devi September 19, 2013, 3:21 am

    Very inspiring story. Nothing in this world is impossible.

  • Som Tamang September 14, 2013, 9:34 pm

    Amazingly wonderful, inspiring, touching and morale motivating story. Thanks and please keep up the good work.

  • Richa June 14, 2013, 1:42 pm

    I am stunned by this act of courage. His determination and self belief despite the several oppositions teach me a lesson for life. He is a paradigm of persistence and unwavering determination.

  • Anand Kanatti June 12, 2013, 8:58 am

    Thank you. Very inspiring story. We should always move with goal and dream…..

  • Mpkumar May 31, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Determination and persistance play amajor role in every one life. Whoever has these two qualities deep in their attitude there is nothing impossible for them.

  • Kirti May 27, 2013, 2:41 am

    Wow…. I knew nothing about this…. I in fact have no words to say what’s going on in my mind at the moment.

    But all my mind says at the moment is “NEVER SAY NEVER”…

    Awesome…

  • Nauseheni May 16, 2013, 10:09 pm

    Awesome story… Told it to the kids in church.

  • Preethi May 9, 2013, 3:57 am

    Great inspirational story ! Whoever has the determination to achieve anything definately they will succeed.

  • Niruban May 3, 2013, 7:27 am

    As an engineer I really admire him this story would give lot of confident despite of the legend struggle he lucky to have lovable wife.

  • Remilekunsymbol April 3, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Touching indeed. If only that we youth can take a decisive step and stick to what we believe in, no matter how challenging & tough the journey through it may be.

  • Norvu April 3, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Awesome one.

  • Neha March 26, 2013, 1:21 pm

    This story was just…heart touching…felt every…line of it…thanks…it just opened my eyes….

  • Numb Romnick March 20, 2013, 3:38 am

    What a very nice story!!! Just believe in yourself, trust God and nothing is impossible….Thanks.

  • Kristen March 1, 2013, 11:03 am

    Wonderful story but you missed the part out making the vary same bridge first from Cincinnati to Covington, KY. The John Roebling suspension bridge stands today, it was completed in 1866 as a predecessor to the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Sunny February 21, 2013, 12:40 pm

    Never back down..thumbs up people cause this guy really deserves a round of a applause…never give up..thats what I learned..and that has really changed my attitude towards life..these are the ones who you should really look up to..SALUTE !

  • Bastin Paul February 18, 2013, 8:12 am

    Truely inspiring story.

  • Mokhosi January 28, 2013, 1:28 pm

    Very inspiring story. It really shows that if you have a dream and believe in yourself, the sky is the limit.

  • Sheela Sivarajan December 2, 2012, 12:38 pm

    This is one of the best stories that I have read. I wanted to visit here.

  • Muxamed November 30, 2012, 2:36 am

    I never knew the history of the Brooklyn bridge….it is an extraordinary…

  • Radhika November 30, 2012, 1:37 am

    Very inspiring!

  • Nicky Moses November 19, 2012, 2:23 am

    WOW!!! What an inspiring story…

  • Badarinath October 25, 2012, 8:07 am

    I have now words to write…

  • Jaywant October 24, 2012, 2:04 am

    What better can there be in the heart than to trust and obey.

  • Rita Borg October 10, 2012, 2:53 am

    What an incredible story, persistance and persevering takes you a long way most but not least believing in yourself and your partner,what a pair of devotional love and believe in one another and what they achieved at the end. I thank you also and thank God for His favour of finding this site one incrdible story after another. Thank you.

  • Nana Serwaa October 2, 2012, 5:50 am

    Really inspirational.

  • Aaditya August 14, 2012, 8:09 pm

    Wonderful…….

  • Joeypot August 2, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Wonderful!!! It helps a lot.

  • Sailaja July 13, 2012, 11:59 am

    It’s really inspiring. This story reflects the truth that if we have determination and persistance we can achieve any thing in life, even when it is very difficult.

  • Sherryl July 3, 2012, 7:45 am

    I just couldn’t comprehend and imagine how Washington able to pursue that seemingly impossible dream. I indeed salute his wife and the rest of Washington’s dream in working with a man’s dream….dreams really do come true when coupled with believing and perseverance… I salute you Mr. Washington!

  • Bance Salifu May 23, 2012, 4:16 am

    This is amazing story, unbelievable and inspirational. Wow I am really touched.

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