The National Monument to the Forefathers
This monument was nearly three-quarters of a century in the making, from its original concept in 1820 to its dedication in 1889. Commissioned by the Pilgrim Society and designed by Boston sculptor Hammatt Billings, it illustrates the foundational principles upon which America was built: Faith, Morality, Law, Education, and Liberty.
In America’s hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts stands a national treasure that few know about. This 180-ton, solid granite monument commemorates the tiny band of religious outcasts who founded this country and the strategy for freedom they brought with them across the Atlantic.
In the documentary film, Monumental, producer Kirk Cameron retraces the Pilgrims’ history and their escape route toward religious freedom. Before boarding the small cargo ship named the Mayflower, they spent 12 years in Holland under the tutelage of their pastor, John Robinson. He taught them biblical principles and the nation-building techniques used by Moses in the ancient Hebrew republic.
“I learned that [the Pilgrims] were… the free thinkers of their day who came here and established something remarkable,” Cameron said. “They understood one thing that was absolutely essential: the ability to self-govern… They believed that morality was not something that could be forced externally by a government or a church; it must begin internally with a change of the heart.”
Through his desire to discover who these people were, Cameron found “that the secret recipe that makes America great and will restore America to what it needs to be… is amazing.” Our forefathers had the foresight to leave us a roadmap. And Cameron found it. The National Monument to the Forefathers not only honors the Pilgrims’ accomplishments but also lays out a specific blueprint depicted by hand-sculpted, heroic figures representing the ideals of faith, morality, law, education, and liberty.
The Pilgrims’ world was deeply rooted in the Geneva Bible, which provided instruction for all spheres of their life. They understood that God not only transforms the heart but also gives principles and precepts in His Word for how to live our lives. As they read it, they gained the wisdom and character needed to be God’s sacrificing, loving servants who came with their families and established the world’s first Christian republic. This incredible miracle happened not by the power of the sword (or tyranny) but through the power of the faith placed by God in the hearts of 23 Pilgrim families.
The monument itself reveals in great depth who these Pilgrims were and the true treasure they left for us. In their desire to live out their faith and secure a future for their children, they achieved building a free society based upon their biblical worldview and Christian ideals. We have the only successful formula for liberty in history; the monument lays it out. If we follow it, we can preserve America as a shining city upon a hill and an example of liberty to the world.
Kirk Cameron’s documentary Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure can be viewed on YouTube, Pure Flix, and Amazon.
by RJ Flower-Opdycke, Co-editor
Billy Baker, “How does an 81-foot-tall monument to the Pilgrims become invisible?”
The Boston Globe, bostonglobe.com, Nov. 24, 2019
Season 16, Bonita Christian Forum