"Ever since I became the youngest textile shop steward in Great Britain in 1961 at the age of 18 years, I have always believed that just as behind every successful man stands a woman, similarly, behind every industrial giant who ever got their name in the history books, stands a workforce of little men and women, who, through their work and sweat, made it all happen!
History has a way of distorting reality and putting to the fore those men and women who achieved great things along the road of the advancement of civilisation, while only the footnotes give mention to the real heroes of the day behind the scenes that made it all possible, and without whom, the end would not have been achieved.
Any history student will be able to tell you the recorded achievements of men like Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in the engineering history of the 19th century in Great Britain. Brunel oversaw the construction of the 'Thames Tunnel', the 'Great Western Railway', a series of steamships, and numerous important bridges and tunnels. He is perhaps best remembered for designing the 'Clifton Suspension Bridge' in Bristol. I doubt, however, if any student would know how many labourers and semi-skilled workers it took to build these projects and how many hundreds and thousands of men died in the process of their construction?
The same is true of all the skyscraper buildings in America. Whereas it's the designers and architects who are made famous, amass great wealth and achieve the prestige, it is the manual high-rise worker who risks life and limb daily, just to earn a modest living and put food on the family table.
There is a famous photograph of eleven high-rise workers in the U.S.A. having their morning break as they sit upon a girder of a skyscraper, thousands of feet above the ground. It is a sad irony that with a bit of modern-day research, I would be able to identify the precise location, the photographer, the year that the photograph was taken, the building concerned, the year of its completion, the name of its architect and its finished height. However hard I tried, though, nowhere would I be able to find the names of the eleven workers sitting on the girder having their morning break; the very men who risked their lives to earn themselves a modest livelihood and their employer a huge amount of wealth, fame, and prestige!
What does this really say about the world that we live in? That is why I love the bible saying in Matthew that 'the last will be first and the first will be last' in the eyes of God; and in my eyes too!" William Forde: December 14th, 2016.