Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Big Day

Happy anniversary! Today makes 232 years since "the shot heard 'round the world". A day when the American people finally stood up to fight against a repressive government.

Here's a prayer that people remember this fight. Remember that it wasn't easy- it cost blood and treasure, and took another six years of fighting, but it ended in a victory for Liberty. The leaders of the time were incredible men, who knew the risks they ran, but took them anyway. They risked death and financial ruin; but stood up for what was Right rather than what was Easy. Hopefully we can remember the courage- both physical and moral- that they showed.

To celebrate this occasion, I'll throw out a few quotes from a favorite book on the War, The American Heritage Book of The Revolution, by Bruce Lancaster and J.H. Plumb.

(Another favorite that I discovered a couple years ago is Washington's Crossing by D.H. Fischer. Can't recommend it highly enough).


"Day was just breaking, clear and unseasonably warm, with premature appleblossoms shimmering in roadside orchards, as [Royal Marine Major John] Pitcairn and his men wound down the curving hill that leads past Munroe's Tavern into Lexington. They could hardly have been surprised to see two companies (the Minute and the Alarm) in battle order on the near end of the Green, nor the slanting shadows of many men moving through nearby woods and fields.... "(p. 95)


"Over in Concord, men waited through the dark hours, knowing only that a British column was headed north out of Boston, with their own town its probable objective.....

...Concord might have been lacking in military dash, but it had that cold courage which enables men to march out into the unknown, to pick up coolly whatever cards Fate has thrown face down." (p. 96)


"...But a single awesome thought must have occurred to every militiaman-'We've fired on the King's troops!'-a far more serious matter than making inflammatory speeches , writing seditious letters, or dumping tea at Griffin's Wharf." (p. 98)


"...From path and road and field the militia closed in on the column, firing from behind stone walls, from behind houses and woodpiles and sheds. Men ran out of ammunition and went home. Men were killed as the light infantry swept the flanks of the attackers. Men were frightened by bullets that, in the words of one participant, 'whistled well,' and gave up the fight. But always more men and more companies were arriving, so that the British column marched through 'a veritable furnass of musquetry.' A stand was attempted, but [British commander Colonel Francis] Smith was wounded and Pitcairn lost his horse and pistols, and the retreat became a rout, with redcoated veterans of unquestioned courage and discipline throwing away arms and equipment as they ran...." (p.99)


"...What mattered was that a call had been sent out, and men by the thousands, from all walks of life, had answered it. That answering marked not only a day on a calendar but a turning point in the life of a whole continent. An old order died on the nineteenth of April, 1775, simply because so many ordinary citizens believed so deeply in what underlay that call." (p. 100)

"... An immense, glowing horseshoe of scattered lights was closing in an arc about Charlestown and Boston, an arc thickened by the fires of companies from the central and western parts of the Province, still arriving in response to that call.

Those fires, flaring and ebbing and flaring, burned on through the changing seasons of 1775 and 1776. They saw the British fleet carry away the troops who had drawn triggers at the little bridge near Concord. Then they sank into the silver gray of their ashes, only to spring up again, not merely the fires of a Provincial army, but of an American army- on Long Island, in the Jerseys, below Quebec, in Pennsylvania, down in the Carolinas and Georgia, and, at last, before Cornwallis' lines between the York and the James rivers in Virginia."(p.100)


I guess that's enough for now. Hard to make any sort of editorial comments on this sort of thing, except to hope that we- the descendants and successors of these men- will live up to the glorious standards of courage and integrity that they set.


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