Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Patriotic 4th of July

After leaving West Point, we did another 3 three states in one day - New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.  I truly forget how close things are back east, but it's nice when you're sightseeing - you can park in one spot and see a lot!

The 4th of July found us in the Boston area for just a couple of days.  Not quite ready to navigate large city crowds, we instead chose to follow the path of Paul Revere on his midnight ride and the "shot heard round the world" that began the American Revolution.

Minute Man National Historic Park spans the area between Lexington and Concord and commemorates the opening battles of the war for independence from Britain.  We started at the Minute Man visitor center, where we were greeted by a British office and shown a very well done multi media presentation about the activities along the battle road.


We had to backtrack just a bit to begin in Lexington, but it was there, in the Buckman Tavern on the Lexington Green, that militiamen gathered to await the British.

Buckman Tavern as it would have appeared on April 19, 1775

The restored Buckman Tavern

The interior of the tavern is staged in such a way that I felt like I just missed the people gathered there.

Interior rooms

Then it was off to follow the battle road from Lexington to Concord.  Along the way, we discovered a fact that, if I had learned it, I'd forgotten.  Did you know that Paul Revere, although he began his ride in Boston harbor, never completed the ride to Concord?  Just outside of Lexington, joined by William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, they were captured by British patrol.  Dawes and Prescott escaped to go on to warn Concord, but Revere was held for some time, then released to return to Lexington.

Paul Revere capture site

This battlefield was not documented as well as the Civil War ones we've seen, but the National Park service has done a good job of preserving and restoring points along the way.  The next stop was the Hartwell Tavern.  This building dates from 1772 - 1773 and has been wonderfully restored.  When you walk into it, you can seen original floors, low ceilings and talk with a militia man in character.

Hartwell Tavern

Restored battle road

The battlefield at North Bridge

Military actors, in character

Monument to the Militiamen
I found it interesting that the statue is that of a farmer.  Our militia was made up of ordinary farmers with little to no military training, which makes it extraordinary that they were able to defeat a highly trained military regiment.

The North Bridge
A reconstruction but historically accurate

We continued on to view the Concord village green and along the way passed by the home of Louisa May Alcott.  It is in this house that she penned "Little Women."

Orchard House

Walking the battle road, particularly on the 4th of July, made me think about all the struggles our country has gone through to be the best country in the world it is today.  As I watch the news, particularly of late, I'm saddened that some of the freedoms for which our forefathers fought are being gradually eroded away and many of the historic icons of our past are being deemed unacceptable. Yes, we as a country have done some things that perhaps we shouldn't have, but eliminating any reminder of regrettable actions does not erase them from our history.  Someone said a long time ago "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" and I think it would be wise for a lot of people to think about that!

Until next time...

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