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April 19, 2008
'The Shot Heard 'Round the World'
It's been 233 years since a scared but determined group of Massachusetts militiamen stood on the village green in Lexington and faced off with British regulars who had entered the town searching for powder and ball.
No one knows who fired the first shot but the result was tragic. Eight militiamen were killed and 10 wounded in the first pitched battle of the Revolution. No one could have forseen what would ensue over the coming years; independence, hardship, civil war, and the final victory at Yorktown. But there is little doubt that as a result of British oppression in Massachusetts, the colonies were united and determined to win their rights.
Strangely, only two states celebrate and remember this day in history as a holiday. Jules Crittenden has a great piece up on his blog with actual accounts of what happened :
Patriots Day may be the least known American holiday, and the day most deserving of our recognition. Observed in Massachusetts and Maine only. Don’t know it? It marks the day, April 19, 1775, on which Americans took up arms against their king, and bled, at the crack of terrible dawn.All Americans should mark this day when our ancestors made the terrible choice to take up arms and fight for their liberty. And part of this day was memorialized in one of our best known poems; Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride.
" Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend,
“If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower as a signal light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
The last several years, I honor Revere's ride with an account of what actually happened that historic night as well as filling in a little background on the man I call a "Founding Brother" of the revolution:
Take a little time today to recall those brave men at Lexington and Concord who reluctantly and wthout a little trepidation, took up arms to fight the best army in the world and secure their freedom against what they saw as an oppressive tyranny.