Up in New England, they call it Patriots’ Day. It’s the third Monday in April and it commemorates the opening chapters of the American Revolution. How ironic this day comes to pass with all that is going on in Nevada at the Bundy Ranch.
In Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts militiamen showed the British that they were mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore. They ended up chasing British General Gage’s professional troops all the way back to Boston.
One player in that opening drama was a 40-year-old craftsman and silversmith by the name of Paul Revere. School children learn of him as not one of the movers and shakers of the American Revolution, but in a supporting role similar to the Pony Express riders nearly a century later.
Patriots Day is timed to coincide with Paul Revere’s famous ride from Boston to Lexington on April 18, 1775 (this year’s Paul Revere Day is April 18th, 2014). Revere’s mission was to warn the colonial militia that the British were on the march and intended to disband the shadow rebel government as well as arrest its leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
As a precaution against having their messenger captured, rebel leaders sent another rider, William Dawes. The event is immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem Paul Revere’s Ride, which makes no mention of Dawes’s role. The famous poem begins…
LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year….[Read the rest here…]
Dawes left Boston via the Boston Neck peninsula, while Revere crossed the Charles River by boat to Charlestown. Each awaited the famous signal from the Old North Church, “one if by land, and two if by sea,” indicating the British marching plans.
Both riders saw the two lanterns and knew the British were coming by way of the Charles River to Cambridge. As they rode they alerted militia leaders and the local populace that the British were on the march. Revere arrived at Lexington shortly before Dawes, and together they warned Adams and Hancock.
Then there was a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott, who joined Revere and Dawes on the road to Concord. Prescott, a local young Patriot, had been visiting a friend and was heading home. On the morning of April 19th, a British patrol challenged the three riders, who scattered in three directions. The British captured Revere and released him after over an hour of rough questioning. Dawes, who lost his horse but eluded his captors, had to walk back to Lexington. Prescott escaped and made it to Concord to warn the rebel leaders there.
The ensuing battles of Lexington and Concord and the eventual British evacuation of Boston were the opening of a revolution that put meaning to the final words of our Declaration of Independence:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
This trio of Patriots, who rode out on horseback to warn their countrymen, were the first of many, and we owe them our liberty and freedom. An important reminder of what Patriots before us were willing to do and what we may have to repeat with our own warning cry:
The government are coming! The government are coming!
At *your* service,
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