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John Harrington Burns

Thirty-two years after his countryman Christopher Columbus,
Discovered the new world, Giovanni da Verrazano landed
On the pristine shores of a garden paradise.

Eight thousand Algonkian of the Delaware tribe,
Who called themselves Lenni Lenape the Original People,
Lived, hunted, and enjoyed the paradise of the garden.

Henry Hudson came and sailed the river that now bares his name.
And Cornelius Mey Christened a Cape where the shoreline ends.
The Original People gave up paradise to the blanched invaders.

The Swedes, the Dutch and the English governed and usurped
Until a group of colonists dressed as Original People burned
A supply of British tea stored in a ship at Greenwich near Salem.

Jersey patriots fought the British in nearly one hundred battles.
Molly Pitcher emerged the heroine at the Battle of Monmouth.
One historic Christmas night George Washington crossed the Delaware.

The battle of Trenton turned downtrodden Minutemen into warriors.
And warrior-statesmen Livingston, Brearley, Paterson and Dayton
Helped shape then proudly signed the U. S. constitution.

The Italian, Irish, German and Poles came and laid the foundation
For the Hudson Tubes, Erie Lackawanna and Jersey Central Rail Roads.
From swampland muck they raised the majestic George Washington Bridge.

Men from Eastern Europe, Africa and the Orient participated in the toil
Of displaying an appreciation for the freedom their new land promised.
They paved the Pulaski Skyway that takes you from Newark to Jersey City,

They designed the Parkway that leads to all Jersey Shore points.
From deep under the Hudson River they dug the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.
Marvel at their genius; respect their efforts as you see their legacies.

The natives are a proud lot. They brag that they did it first.
John Stevens in 1825 built, Phoenix, the first steam going ship.
In 1846 the first professional baseball game was played in Hoboken.

Thomas Edison first lit up the world, then gave us moving pictures.
1869 the first college football game was played, Rutgers 6, Princeton 4.
The first dinosaur remains in North American were found in Haddonfield.

Thomas Nast from Morristown cartooned for the Democrats their donkey,
The Republicans their elephant and to America our version of Santa.
Madame Bey, first woman of boxing, trained world champions at Chatam.

Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail gave us the telegraph and Morse code.
John P. Holland successfully tested his submarine in 1898.
The first radio impulse was sent out by radio pioneer Joseph Henry.

Travel the Turnpike that makes its way up the middle of the state.
You'll see smoke billowing up from active factory smokestacks.
Unattractive as it looks, it tells the story of growth and progress.

Every exit leads to a street where a favorite son or daughter lived.
New Brunswick, the home of Joyce Kilmer, The World War I poet of "Trees."
Hackensack gave us astronaut Walter Schirra, and actor Jack Nicholson.

In the ivy covered halls of Princeton Albert Einstein theorized.
President Grover Cleveland was born in a church manse at Caldwell.
Alonzo Stagg, Football's Grand Old Man, scrimmaged at West Orange.

Frank Sinatra first voiced songs in this state as did Bruce Springsteen.
Sarah Vaughn choired in Newark and Count Basie is hailed in Red Bank.
Tony Galento lived in Orange, Jerry Lewis came from Irvington.

A town called Phalanx, boasts of writer and critic Alexander Woollcott.
Sergeant John Basilone grew up to be New Jersey's hero of World War II.
Woodrow Wilson, and adopted son, led the US during World War I.

Barnegat Lighthouse reminds us of New Jersey men of the sea.
The state's renowned seashore resorts attract visitors from everywhere.
Atlantic City's Miss America Pageant is a world celebration.

From the diamonds that glisten on the sands of Cape May's beach,
And the wooded areas up at High Point, the top of the state,
To the Raritan River, Lake Hopatcong, or Cook's Pond Jerseyans take pride.

New Jersey situated between parentheses, New York and Pennsylvania,
And what's situated between parentheses is remarkable and outstanding.
New Jersey's remarkable past propels her to an outstanding future.

Published 1991 in the SANTA MARIA LEGACY
Edited by Ethel Paterson



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