Remembering April 18 and 19: Paul Revere’s Ride, and the “shot heard ’round the world”

April 18, 2011

This is mostly an encore post.

April 18 19. Do the dates have significance? Paul Revere's ride, from Paul Revere House

Among other things, it is the date of the firing of the “shot heard ’round the world,” the first shots in the American Revolution. On April 19, 1775, American Minutemen stood to protect arsenals they had created at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, against seizure by the British Army then occupying Boston.

April is National Poetry Month. What have we done to celebrate poetry?

What have we done to properly acknowledge the key events of April 18 and 19, 1775? Happily, poetry helps us out in history studies, or can do.

In contrast to my childhood, when we as students had poems to memorize weekly throughout our curriculum, modern students too often come to my classes seemingly unaware that rhyming and rhythm are used for anything other than celebrating materialist, establishment values obtained sub rosa. Poetry, to them, is mostly rhythm; but certainly not for polite company, and never for learning.

Poems slipped from our national curriculum, dropped away from our national consciousness.

And that is one small part of the reason that Aprils in the past two decades turned instead to memorials to violence, and fear that violence will break out again. We have allowed darker ideas to dominate April, and especially the days around April 19.

You and I have failed to properly commemorate the good, I fear. We have a duty to pass along these cultural icons, as touchstones to understanding America.

So, reclaim the high ground. Reclaim the high cultural ground.

Read a poem today. Plan to be sure to have the commemorative reading of “Paul Revere’s Ride” in your classes next April 18 or 19, and “The Concord Hymn” on April 19.

We must work to be sure our heritage of freedom is remembered, lest we condemn our students, our children and grandchildren to having to relearn these lessons of history, as Santayana warned.

Texts of the poems are below the fold, though you may be much better off to use the links and see those sites, the Paul Revere House, and the Minuteman National Historical Park.

Read the rest of this entry »


Quotes that will live in infamy: Michelle Bachmann, another history “F” (“shot heard ’round the world”)

March 14, 2011

In Concord, New Hampshire, on March 11 and 12, 2011, apparently testing to see whether that little state has bad enough education standards before announcing a presidential bid, Michelle Bachmann butchered history and geography once again, according to the conservative Minnesota Independent:

“You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord,” she said, referencing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn,” an ode to the lives lost at the start of the American Revolution in Concord, Massachusetts, not New Hampshire.

How many bites at the apple does stupid get?  Has Ed Brayton picked up on this yet?

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann

More:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pat Carrithers.

Update:  Oh, yeah, others noticed:

Jeff Danziger on Michelle Bachmann's mixing up Concords

Jeff Danziger


Paul Revere’s Ride, read by Longfellow

April 19, 2010

Almost.

Least creepy of the animated YouTube versions I could find, and not a bad reading (though I wish some readers would pay more attention to the text and less attention to meter and rhyme).

What do you think?

So, early on the morning of April 19, Paul Revere finished his ride.  John Hancock and Samuel Adams had been alerted, and so had the Minutemen who had pledged and practiced to defend the arsenals laid in to defend colonists against British tyranny  . . .


Paul Revere’s ride, and the shot ‘heard ’round the world’

April 18, 2009

This is the anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, which means tomorrow is the anniversary of the battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, that signaled the beginning of real hostilities of the American Revolution.

Details on the poems here and here — go get them and read them to your children.

The National Guard traces its beginnings to these events (see a description here — scroll down to April 18).

Shot heard round the world - Dominick D'Andrea, National Guard Heritage Gallery

Dominick D'Andrea painting from the National Guard Heritage Series. National Guard caption: At dawn on April 19, 1775, as 700 elite British soldiers marched toward Concord, they fought a brief skirmish with militiamen on Lexington Green, leaving eight colonists dead and nine wounded. The King’s troops marched on, arriving at Concord two hours later. While some troops searched the town for stores of gunpowder and arms, three companies guarded the “North Bridge.” As the British were marching toward Concord, word spread of the fight at Lexington. Alarm bells rang calling out the militia and Minute Men across Middlesex County. Among the units to muster was Colonel James Barrett’s Middlesex County Regiment of Minute Men. Once in formation the regiment moved onto a hill within 500 yards of where the British stood watch at North Bridge. Colonel Barrett, needing to organize additional militia companies, left his command to Major John Buttrick. When smoke appeared in the sky above Concord the Americans wrongly believed the British were burning the town. In response Buttrick decided to move his men toward the town. As the Americans advanced the British pickets fell back across the bridge. The last British unit to cross, the Light Company of the 4th (King’s Own) Foot, stopped to tear up some of the planks to delay the militia advance. Leading the American column was Captain Isaac Davis’s Company of Minute Men from Acton. As they got within 50 yards of the bridge Buttrick shouted at the British to stop tearing up the planks. Suddenly three British shots were fired, killing Davis and another man instantly and wounding a third. Buttrick shouted “Fire! For God’s sake Fire!” and the Minute Men unloosed a ragged but heavy volley. Four out of eight British officers were hit along with seven enlisted men, two of whom died. The British immediately fell back toward the town where they linked up with other Royal troops. Buttrick moved his men across the bridge as the British column began marching back down the road toward Boston. Militiamen gathered along their path and soon began firing from behind trees and stone walls, inflicting an ever-increasing number of casualties. When the exhausted British troops reached Lexington, scene of the fight earlier that morning, they were met by a relief force sent to accompany them back to Boston. However, the Americans did not stop their attacks, inflicting additional losses on the British column before it reached Boston. In total the British suffered almost 300 dead, wounded or missing. Within days an army of nearly 20,000 militiamen from all over New England surrounded the city, effectively putting it under siege. In 1875, on the 100th anniversary of the action at Concord, Daniel Chester French’s Minuteman statue, the symbol of today’s National Guard, was dedicated. As part of the ceremony, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem The Concord Hymn was read honoring the men who “fired the shot heard round the world” which began the Revolutionary War. Today’s National Guard is the direct descendent of those militia and Minute Men who stood their ground to protect their homes and freedoms.

National Guardsmen from the U.S. stand under arms around the world today, defending freedom and America’s towns, cities, farms, orchards, forests and wilderness.   Find a Guardsman today (including women), and thank them for their service.


%d bloggers like this: