WS>>Celebtrate Patriot's Day
carl william spitzer iv
cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Mon Apr 19 15:50:37 MDT 2004
CELEBRATE PATRIOTS DAY, APRIL 19th
By E. James Adkins
We don't celebrate the 19th of April anymore. It was
never celebrated in a big monumental way, but we once cel-
ebrated that day.
"Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year."
-so wrote Longfellow in his poem that begins:
"Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,"
Revere and others went forth on the night of April 18,
1775 with the alarm, "The redcoats are coming!" They rode
all through the night.
"It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington."
"It was two by the village clock
When he came to the bridge in Concord town."
Why was it so immediately important, on the night of
April 18, 1775, for all of the people to know that the
"redcoats are coming"?
It was the practice in our colonial period for each
village to have a "common" or "village green" that was used
for public gatherings. The most significant use of the
"common" was as a mustering point and drill field for the
village militia, "every able bodied man between the ages of
16 and 60 years." The militia was trained (as they termed
it, "disciplined" and "well regulated") in the use of arms,
here at the village green. The militia provided protection
for individuals and property of the village against all
threats. A man would spend some time in the "gaol" if he
missed a militia call. The militia, each man, was required
to keep and bear his own arms. It was common for the militia
to maintain a community armory for the storage of shot,
powder, flint, additional small arms and any heavy arms that
it might afford. Individuals could draw from these supplies
as needed, as well as acquiring their own private supplies.
On the night of April 18, 1775, Governor Gage (British
Governor of fortress Boston) ordered British "redcoats" to
march to the many surrounding villages, to seize and destroy
all stores of munitions and to arrest the country leaders,
British Major Pitcairn led the march into the country-
side. The prime objective was to still the voice of the
people, disarm them and make them more servile. Rebellion
must stop, they said.
So, Revere took to horse to give the alarm: "To arms,
to arms, the redcoats are coming!"
Early on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, Major
Pitcairn's "redcoats" arrived at Lexington and met Captain
John Parker's company of colonial militia drawn-up on the
meeting house green.
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Hence once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world."
-so wrote Emerson in 1837.
Some colonials were wounded and some were killed.
Resistance to the larger British force proved futile. Pit-
cairn's return march to Boston became a humiliating rout as
our colonial militiamen, Minutemen and individual countrymen
harassed the British column from behind stone walls, rocks
and trees, every step of the way.
The shot heard round the world, the first shot in our
fight for independence from King George's slavery, was fired
to protect and defend the natural right of men to protect
themselves, to keep and bear arms for the purpose of pre-
serving liberty. This right to keep and bear arms was codi-
fied on the 15th of December 1791 when it became the Second
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of Ameri-
We don't celebrate the 19th of April anymore. Perhaps
"That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heros dare
To die, and leave their children free."
The redcoats are coming!
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