And So it Begins… Lexington and Concord

Minute_ManAs Independence Day fast approaches, Americans are gearing up for a long weekend.  Maybe some time off from work, a barbecue, some frosty cold beverages, fireworks, time well spent with family, and other red-blooded patriotic American festivities.  We’re certain that many will also be celebrating the 239th anniversary of the adoption of The United States’ Declaration of Independence by exercising the right to keep and bear arms and burning up some gun powder at the shooting range.  Perhaps a fitting observance, considering some of the events that ignited the American Revolution and fueled the forge that made this nation what it is today.

As a tribute, this week we will be posting some patriotic stuff.  Because… America!

In the mid-1770s, after some uppity American colonists threw a bunch of tea into the Boston Harbor as a protest over the Tea Act’s “taxation without representation,” the British government tried to spank them with the Intolerable Acts.  Well, those free spirited early American men didn’t much care for that, so they began taking steps to resist Brit control, such as passing the Suffolk Resolves and creating the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.  Not about to take any guff from those yanks, the British government declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion and, as oppressors often do with those they want to control, decided to disarm the people.  Nihil novi sub sole, right?

It was on their way to capture and destroy militia supplies that, under secret orders, approximately 700 British Army regulars under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith marched – by way of Lexington – on Concord.  There, at the North Bridge, 400 or so militiamen engaged a contingent of the British regulars, driving them back to Concord proper where the rest of their force was searching for arms to confiscate before being forced to withdraw, first back to Lexington – where shots had been fired earlier in the day – and then, along with their reinforcements, back to Boston.  That day, April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord marked the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War and put us on the path to becoming the nation that we are today.

Some 62 years later, Ralph Waldo Emerson penned the Concord Hymn for the dedication of the memorial at the North Bridge to commemorate “the shot heard ’round the world:”  

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, our 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.

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