I am a building tradesman
My hands are custodians of skills a thousand generations old, held in trust for a thousand generations to come.
My predecessors created the Hanging Gardens of Nebuchadnezzar and patiently put together the Parthenon.
My successors will construct platforms in space and way stations on the stars,
I harness the rivers, bridge the inlets, disembowel the mountains, and level the valleys to make the nation strong in war and prosperous in peace.
The mightiest skyscraper begins with a stake I drive in the ground and ends with the turn of the owner’s key in a lock I install.
Between the stake and the lock I fight searing summer heat and bitter winter cold.
Danger is my constant companion and instant death lurks around every corner.
The astronaut begins his probe of the heavens from a launching pad I build.
The mightiest surgeon performs his miracles in an amphitheater I erect and provide with heat, light, water and technical equipment.
Even at the birth of the atomic age one of my brothers was there.
And when the first test proved successful, Enrico Fermi, the master scientist, placed his arm around the shoulders of this brother and said, “Gus, with all our education, what could we have done without your experience?”
I stand straight and walk proud, because I know my contribution to society is based on skill, not bluff; on sweat, not sweet-talk; on production, not press-agentry.
I am a building tradesman, belonging to a building trades union.
Because I am, I need to truckle neither to king or tycoon.
Peter Terzick, (Brotherhood of Carpenters)