On Patriots Day, remembering those who took up arms for our freedom by Bob Reed
Well said sir. I agree and thanks for your words. In Massachusetts, we celebrate PATRIOTS DAY to remember the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
On Patriots Day, remembering
those who took up arms for our freedom
The Lowell Sunlowellsun.com
The Redcoats, British soldiers, stood in a swampy meadow in Cambridge for
several hours on that chilly night of April 18, 1775, before they got the order
They walked 40 miles that night and the next day, to Lexington, and on to
Concord, back to Lexington and finally back to Boston. At Lexington, they faced
quickly assembled Colonial troops on the Village Green, and there the long and
costly struggle for the personal freedoms and government by the governed that we
all enjoy began. The Colonial militia, about 80 of them under the command of Capt. John
Parker, had no intention of slowing the Redcoats' march to Concord. But as the
700 British regulars met them at dawn, in the confusion, a shot was fired -- by
whom history is unable to determine -- and a skirmish ensued in which eight
Before that brief engagement, Capt. Parker gave his famous
command, held high among the great patriotic utterances in our national history:
"Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a
war, let it begin here."And it did begin. The Redcoats marched on to Concord, in search of gunpowder
and arms that had been stored there by the Colonials. But through intelligence
leaked from British army headquarters, the Concord militia knew about the
impending attack and had hidden the armaments. And there, "by the rude bridge
that arched the flood," as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote many years later, more
militia -- minutemen -- engaged the British regulars. The battle went on after 500 or so Colonials saw smoke rising from the
vicinity of Concord center, and thought (erroneously) that the Redcoats had set
the village afire. They were enraged. The regulars faced them at the bridge, and
the long and bloody fight for independence had begun. The British withdrew,
after finding no cache of arms, but the Colonials harassed and attacked them as
they marched back to Boston.
As the day progressed, militiamen and their commanders from towns throughout
the area poured into Lexington and joined the forces already there. Contrary to
common belief, the minutemen did not just scurry ahead of the retreating British
column and snipe at it from behind walls and undergrowth. Rather, the Colonials
were led by experienced officers who deployed their troops at strategic points
along the retreat route and were able to inflict substantial losses on the
regulars, thereby slowing and hindering the long and exhausting withdrawal and
making it much more difficult than it would have been otherwise.
Paul Revere, earlier that same evening, had made his historic ride from
Charlestown through Menotomy (Arlington) to Lexington to warn the elders in the
villages that the British regulars were coming, and word was spread through a
carefully worked-out communications system to the surrounding towns, so there
was no surprise in the regulars' assault.But the regulars, the mighty British army, suffered a major defeat by a group
of Colonial militias.
The nation, more specifically, eastern Massachusetts, remembers the 19th of
April, known as Patriots Day. There are exercises on Lexington Green and by the
North Bridge in Concord to celebrate the courage and resolve the colonists
showed, and the sacrifice they showed in standing up to a government that
oppressed them and tormented them and demeaned them. Revere's ride is ridden
again each year, now along paved streets through teeming cities and towns.
For many years, the battles in the two towns were remembered on April 19, the
anniversary of their occurrence. Now the observance is on the third Monday of
April. The events at Lexington and Concord were the first in the Revolution. Next
came the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17. There the British regulars defeated
the Colonials, but at such a cost that it amounted to a victory for the
The Declaration of Independence would not be written for more
than a year, but the mistreatment of the colonists by the British crown had led
them to desperation. Actions like this embody the patriotism and resolve of our early forebears.
And they lead one to wonder how Americans of today would react to conditions
similar to those of the colonists.
Would we grab our guns (if we were allowed to
have them) and rush to confront an invading army? Would we be willing to risk
death to defend a noble concept? Americans remain in the debt of these staunch and brave forebears. We owe all
we have to them and to others who fill our national history with feats of
courage and patriotism.
America remains the beacon of freedom for the world. Today we cheer and thank those who took the first gallant steps to win it for
Bob Reed, 92, is a former editorial writer for The Sun.