The Colonists chose to say “NO!” 242 years ago today.
They chose to stand and fight the legally appointed soldiers of the King of England, carrying out legal orders.
They chose to refuse to be disarmed.
Today, 242 years ago, warned by Paul Revere and William Dawes that “the British are coming!”, they chose to stand and fight. To say “NO!”….To do battle with seasoned soldiers in order to keep their way of life and to have their freedom from a King who gave them no representation and who ruled from thousands of miles away.
They chose to keep their guns, and to keep their ammo, in order that they would have a say in what their future would be, rather than be a disarmed serf to be ordered at the whim of the King’s men.
‘Twas on Lexington Green that early in the morning Captain Parker is said to have ordered his men: “Stand your ground; don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”.
Whatever the legend, we do know that several colonist men were shot, and 8 men killed in the exchange of gunfire and the subsequent rush with bayonets.
The bloodshed was to be repaid later that afternoon.
The British marched to Concord, searched the town for arms and powder and shot, finding none, but did find cannon secreted in several places. These cannon were disabled.
The British were foolish enough to fire a shot, beginning the battle of Concord.
The British, after the first skirmish, assembled and took their time before marching back to Lexington on their way to Boston.
The Militia took advantage of the terrain and their familiarity with it, and began sniping and ambushing the column of British Regulars:
“Chasing the red-coats down the lane / Then crossing the fields to emerge again / Under the trees at the turn of the road, / And only pausing to fire and load.”
In Lexington, the British were met with reinforcements, nearly doubling their number.
They rested their men, and began the long march back to Boston.
The Militia, whose numbers grew throughout the day, would stop, shoot, mount their horses, dash ahead, and repeat their depredations of the British. The closer to Boston they got, the more the British suffered at the hands of the growing numbers of Militia. Menotomy and Cambridge were particularly bloody for the British.
The Revolutionary war had begun in earnest.
Remember those men. They, with their blood, and sweat, and their bravery made the country you have today possible.