"Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon..."
"...but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
These are the words that were (reportedly) spoken by Captain John Parker to the 77 militiamen who had gathered on Lexington Green on the morning of April 19th, 1775.
The weather that morning was described as "fair, windy and cold".
Militia units and Minutemen had been gathering since the early hours of the morning when riders Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott spread word of the British expedition leaving Boston to seize the colonists' stores of weapons and powder.
What would happen over the course of the next few hours would change the world forever.
...and we are forever in their debt. May America always have men such as these ready to put their lives in harm's way upon the need. May the cowards always have Canada (or somewhere else) to flee to.
The first shots starting the revolution were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts. On April 18, 1775, British General Thomas Gage sent 700 soldiers to destroy guns and ammunition the colonists had stored in the town of Concord, just outside of Boston. They also planned to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock, two of the key leaders of the patriot movement.
Dr. Joseph Warren learned of the British plans and sent Paul Revere to alert John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Paul Revere promised to warn them when the British soldiers started to march. Since he wasn't sure that he would be able to get out of Boston with the message, he made plans to alert people by putting lanterns in the Old North Church steeple. He would light one lantern if the British were coming by land, and two lanterns if the British were coming by sea.
On the evening of April 18th, the British troops were ferried across the Boston Harbor to start their march on Lexington. Paul Revere hung two lanterns in the church steeple. Then Paul Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott rode to warn the colonists that the British were coming.
Paul Revere rode to Lexington and alerted Samual Adams and John Hancock. By the time the British soldiers reached Lexington, Samual Adams and John Hancock had escaped.
The colonists had been expecting a fight with the British. They had organized a group of militia, called the Minutemen. They were called Minutemen because they needed to be prepared to fight on a minutes notice.
When the British soldiers reached Lexington, Captain Jonas Parker and 75 armed Minutemen were there to meet them. The Minutemen were greatly outnumbered. The British soldiers fired, killing 8 Minutemen and injuring 10 others.
Although Paul Revere was captured by British scouts before reaching Concord, other messengers managed to get through and warn the people. While the British soldiers continued on their way to Concord, the men and women of Concord were busy moving the arms and ammunition to new hiding places in surrounding towns. When the soldiers arrived they were only able to destroy part of the supplies.
Minutemen from nearby towns were now responding to the messengers' warnings. The smoke from the burning supplies was also attracting local farmers and townspeople. A large force of patriots was now gathered in response to the British troops.
As the British soldiers headed back to Boston, they were attacked by the Minutemen. All along the route, Minutemen, local farmers and townspeople continued the attack against the British. By the time the soldiers reached Boston, 73 British solders were dead and 174 more were wounded.
In the days fighting, 49 patriots were killed, and 39 more were wounded.
I remember with fondness the cartoon from Schoolhouse Rock:
It is a shame that our entertainment and educational institutions have been taken over by socialists (i.e., progressives). Perhaps we need another revolution and run these people to Canada where they belong.
This is video of a re-enactment from last year.
Another well-made video of last year's events.
Here are some places you can go to in order to read more about the history of that day:
Battle at Lexington Green, 1775 (The Start of the American Revolution and the "shot heard round the world.")
Battle of Lexington and Concord
Minuteman National Park 2010 Calender of Events (hopefully videos of some of that will be uploaded soon)