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Crossing the Mostar Bridge

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Thanks to reading recommendations here on, I picked up a copy of Sarajevo Marlboro at a bookstore, just as we crossed the famous, historic bridge in Mostar, Bosnia.

At the bookstore, a short film played over and over, documenting the bridge’s destruction, step by step, and later its rebuilding. A piece of classical music played over documentary footage, until one fateful moment, when a blast drowned out the soundtrack, and the bridge finally collapsed. Tears ran down my cheeks. I thought the piece wasn’t too violent for my children, ages 4 and 5, to watch with me. After all, it played like a newsreel, looping in a bookstore. Then came the explaining.

Weeks later, my son still asks about it, and makes analogies. He does not seem terrified. At four years old he seems to understand the seriousness and the gravity of such a moment in history. It’s exactly the kind of mindfulness and conscientiousness we want to instill in our children. The experience of the bridge seems to help my son understand why we treasure each other, each day. The experience was profound—for all of us.

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