Imagine you and your pal want to go exploring. You decide to head west to some unknown point. You’ll know you’re at the end the line when you get there.
Now imagine that you’re traversing some of the wildest country imaginable.
And then try to figure out the meaning of it all, given that no one else in what you know to be the civilized world at the time has done what you’ve just done.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were two men on a mission that began on May 14, 1804 and ended Sept. 23, 1806 at their St. Louis, Mo., starting point. Tuesday night, KACV-TV viewers will get a look at what they faced more than two centuries ago when they set out on a journey of unimaginable hazard.
The program airs Tuesday at 7 p.m. It’s called “Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.” It’s a Ken Burns documentary and it sure to capture your imagination.
Allow me this point of personal privilege.
I grew up in the part of the country rich in Lewis & Clark history. Portland, Ore., my hometown, is roughly where the two men’s journey ended in 1805. They had sent out on the mission by President Thomas Jefferson to discover where the country ended.
They found the end of continental America at the mouth of the Columbia River, where the river empties into the Pacific Ocean. My hometown has monuments to Messrs. Lewis and Clark everywhere. Why, there’s even a college in Portland named after them. Towns along their route bear their name: Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Wash. Portland once played host, in 1905, to what used to pass as a world’s fair to commemorate the centennial of that great journey.
I know that what these men accomplished was a really big deal.
Ken Burns — who is no stranger to KACV viewers — tells their story as only he can.