Friday, April 19, 2013

The Shot Heard Around the World

April 19th, two hundred and thirty eight years ago today, there was a confrontation on Lexington Green.

Paul Revere had been up all night riding the countryside letting communities know that the "Regulars are coming!" We were all British then, the Regulars were the soldiers, so he wouldn’t have said “the British were coming!” Paul had no guarantee he would succeed. People could have been arrested. Arms could have been confiscated. Ammunition could have been taken away. They had no right to gather together, no right to say whatever they wanted, no right to do as they pleased. Paul’s news was an alert, that the soldiers were coming and they could do whatever they wished in the name of the King.

As I think back to what that must have been like for the folks who lived in Massachusetts Colony, I can't help but wonder, how would I have felt? What was this like for my ancestors? What kind of upheaval did it mean to them? Where was my family? How did they hear the news? What did they do? Did they realize how big the effects would be of this small confrontation on the green? Were they there?

I know I had ancestors who served in the American War for Independence. But instead of looking after the fact, Is there any way to find out what brought them to that decision? To leave home, family, the farm, and actually engage in battle with the strongest army in the world at the time? What kind of belief they must have had in liberty to turn their back on the only system of law they had ever seen.

The people who decided 238 years ago that they had had enough, they took the chance that there was something else, something better out there then living under a king, a regime that had no regard for the citizens of the colonies. They choose the uncertainty and were willing to give it all up so that their children, grand children, great grandchildren and descendants would have a better life.

So when you hear about the small ragtag militia that stood their ground on the green that day, the small group of settlers that took on the British Army (their army!) and defied the government (their government!)- realize this isn't some vague group of people who knew what the outcome would be.

Be very aware that someone walked away from everything they knew, and threw it away so you could have a better life. And that act of defiance became clear on April 19th, 1775, the date most people think of as the start of the American Revolution.   Today.