CLT Update
Monday, April 16, 2001

Americans' first organized gun-control protest
(It was a doozy!)

The Union-News
Springfield, Mass.
Monday, April 16, 2001

America's patriots should be remembered today

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurl'd,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard 'round the world.

Since today is a holiday in Massachusetts, teachers won't be asking children to recite those famous lines.

That's too bad because Ralph Waldo Emerson's oft-quoted passage about the Battle of Lexington and Concord -- fought on April 19, 1775, 226 years ago -- is worth repeating on Patriots' Day.

It does seem odd, however, that the whole country isn't marking the moment the passage celebrates.

After all, Patriots' Day, which is only celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine, aroused the people in the American colonies to launch the War for Independence that led to the formation of the United States of America.

Without Patriots' Day there would be no Fourth of July fireworks.

As a reminder to those vacationing school students -- and the rest of us -- here's a bit of history. It was about midnight on April 18 that a British force of 800 men set out from Boston to destroy a cache of arms and munitions the rebel colonists had assembled at Concord. At the same time, Paul Revere began his famous ride, bringing the news of the advance to the farmers along a 16-mile route.

At dawn, the British reached Lexington, six miles from Concord, encountered a force of 70 rebels, and exchanged shots with them. Under fire, the British pushed on to Concord, destroyed some of the rebel stores and retreated back to Boston. At the day's end, the British toll was 273 men killed, missing or wounded. The American loss was 103. The American battle for independence had begun.

Surely Emerson's "embattled farmers" are worthy of recognition today. Perhaps a trip to Lexington and Concord might be in order this school vacation.

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