||PATRIOTS DAY 2007
“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, ‘What should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” —Samuel Adams
In honor of those brave Patriots who, on 19 April 1775, at Lexington and Concord, fired the opening volley for American liberty—and those Patriots who continue in that tradition today, shouldering the burden of American liberty, particularly those on the warfront with Jihadistan.
By the Spring of 1775, the Massachusetts Colony was preparing for conflict with the Royal authority over taxation without representation. The colonial authorities had become oppressive, and American Patriots were prepared to cast off their masters.
On the eve of 18 April 1775, General Thomas Gage, military governor of Massachusetts, dispatched a force from Boston to confiscate weapons stored in the village of Concord, and to capture Patriot rebels Samuel Adams and John Hancock, reported to be in Lexington. But Patriots had anticipated this raid.
Paul Revere had arranged for advance warning, and though he was captured, Patriot allies William Dawes and Samuel Prescott continued their midnight ride for 22 miles from Boston’s Old North Church to Concord and warned militiamen along the way.
As dawn arrived on 19 April, between 50 and 70 militiamen came to the town green at Lexington to confront the British column. When a few links away from the militia column, the British officer swung his sword, and said, “Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men. Fire!” Several Patriots were killed and wounded, but none had been ordered to return fire.
However, when the British arrived at Concord’s Old North Bridge, American “Minutemen” fired the “shot heard round the world” as Emerson notes above.
That was the beginning of an eight-year struggle for American independence, a beginning we honor as Patriots Day.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, are sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.