April 19, 1775. The Boston Massacre (where an escaped slave, Crispus Attucks, was shot and killed) and the Boston Tea Party both had already taken place. British troops were marching from Boston to Concord, Mass in order to seize hidden stores of militia supplies. Once the colonists found out about the column of British regulars headed to Concord the alarm was sounded. Bells from town to town rang out, warning guns were fired, bonfires were lit and war drums were beat. Due to previous conflicts with Indians the colonists had a very effective early warning system developed. Militia from all over Massachusetts mustered and started on their marches to Concord. Early on the morning of April 19, 1775 as the British regulars came into the town of Lexington they were met by Lexington militia men. Although commanders on both sides ordered their troops not to fire, most likely a drunk in the tavern fired the first shot, and then all Hell broke loose. The colonists vastly outnumbered were routed and the British started on to Concord. In Concord there was resistance and a small skirmish took place at the North Bridge. By now additional militia continued to arrive and the Redcoats beat a hasty retreat back to Boston. During the entire 15 mile retreat back to Boston the Redcoats were picked apart by the colonists’ militia. By the next morning militia from all over New England had arrived and now numbering 15,000+ laid siege to the city of Boston.
The Revolutionary War had begun.
Because I live in the cradle of liberty I like to celebrate the birth of our republic and the fallen. Besides, I like the sound of fife and drum and the smell of gunpowder in the morning. In 1775 the Lincoln Militia was the first to arrive in Concord and faced down the best trained and best supplied army at that time, the British war machine.
As a name was called the former farmer and present soldier moved away from his grave and joined his comrades in formation. Fife and drum played on. It brought tears to my eyes. This was the 42nd year marching for the gentleman in the foreground with the reddish coat (and carrying his musket in an unsafe manner).
The captain called the troops to order and we began our march onto Concord. Many towns around here have contingents of Minutemen that do different events throughout the year.
So on April 19, 1775 as the alarm was spread Minutemen from throughout New England started their march towards Concord. You can pretty much march with any group. This year we marched with the Lincoln contingent. Some groups start their march at 03:30 in order to arrive in Concord on time.
And off for our six mile walk to Concord for the big parade. Along the way fife and drum were played and musket was fired. It is really quite moving to be walking the same roads that the Minutemen did so long ago, with folks wearing the period correct clothes, playing fife and drum and shooting musket.
It helps to remind me of the sacrifice that sometimes need be made in order to keep a peoples free from tyranny and oppression. And give thanks to those who helped to secure ours so long ago. They died so that our children may be free.
Flags were laid upon memorials and graves. This is where one group of Lincoln Minutemen met another group. People came out of their houses to watch us march on the same road that our forefathers marched on 234 years ago.
Here was a fun and celebratory family that really gets into the spirit of the holiday with their own cannon fire. BABOOM!!
It may be tough to see, but this joyous family had four different cannon set up from itty bitty to pretty big. Boom echoed throughout the neighborhood. A couple little fires started in the woods so the garden hose was dispatched.
A salute from the cavalry who fell in behind us. Great old fashioned parade with corkguns, American flags and cotton candy for the kids. There is no place I would rather be on Patriots’ Day then commemorating the dead and their deeds on the same lands where their feet tread.
So please honor these Minutemen. These brave souls who left hearth and home to venture into the unknown and whose fortitude pointed the colonies down the road to self rule. Just think when those church bells rang out on that April evening and the Minutemen came running from their homes they had no idea what to expect. They probably worried that their farms may be burned to the ground by the British. Although none expected a shooting war, they never knew when they may see their wife or children again….if ever. And their families left at home did nor know when their husbands, fathers and brothers would return home….if ever. And some never did.