McCaig’s Tower is located on Oban, Scotland and sits on a hill overlooking the city. It was built by a wealthy banker in the late 1800s to commemorate his family. That was it’s purpose, although the view out of every portal is breath taking. I can imagine that his family must have enjoyed strolling through this beautiful monument and looking out to sea and over the city.
Mr. McCaig had plans to build a structure within these walls to house an art gallery and statuary of his family, but died before the project was complete. The walls were already standing when he died and his family chose not to continue building his vision as a memorial to them.
This monument left by one man to honor himself and his family made me start thinking about what ordinary people leave behind to keep the memory of their family alive. Photographs? Diaries? Letters? The home place?
Most of us don’t have the means to erect beautiful architectural structures to commemorate those we love. Yet the legacy we leave behind is as important to our generations as McCaig’s Tower is to his.
I like what author Ray Bradbury quoted from his grandfather, ““Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.” – Billy Graham
“The songs of our ancestors are also the songs of our children.” – Phillip Gomm
“Are we being good ancestors?” – Jonas Salk