The Golden Gate Bridge is a San Francisco icon. This magnificent orange-vermillion structure spans the Golden Gate (where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Francisco Bay) bridging San Francisco and Marin. May 27, 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Even as a native to the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge is always awe-inspiring. I’ve driven over it hundreds of times, flown over it, and even walked over it several times. I’ve been on a fishing boat going under it, heading out for a day of deep sea fishing. I’ve scattered ashes of special friends as we sailed the Bay with the bridge as our guidepost. As soon as I got on the bridge, all the stress and tension of visiting inmates at San Quentin State Penitentiary would gradually dissipate. The Golden Gate Bridge was always its own destination when friends came to visit.
There really is something magical about San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge is an essential part of that magic. The rugged California coastline and the redwood treed hills are quintessential California. Whether the fog has rolled in, covering all but the twin spans of the bridge or there’s a sparkling crisp sky, the view up to the bridge and from the bridge is always spectacular. Even when the bridge is swaying from the gusty winds, it’s still an engineering wonder.
Lots of things attract people to the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. Sadly, the Golden Gate Bridge is also witness to the most suicides of anywhere else in the world. Just as people travel from far away places to experience the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge, they also come from far away in their quiet moments of despair.
Have you been to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge? What were your first impressions upon seeing or crossing the bridge? I’m going to have to stop writing. I’m getting homesick!
For more information about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge and upcoming events, check out the California Historical Society website.