Living in New England (what we consider to be the Cradle of American Civilization), we Cape Cod residents often take for granted the various historic places and events that are within an hour or two of home. Patriots’ Day for many of us is a holiday from work, a chance to participate in or root on our friends up Heartbreak Hill in the Boston Marathon, or perhaps an opportunity to take in an afternoon Red Sox game.
This year my wife and I decided to re-live that portion of history that we celebrate today. Fortunately for us, we were introduced to the idea by some neighbors who have made reenactment scenarios a part of their lives, and we were inspired by their enthusiasm. While we have not donned colonial garb as yet, we were intrigued at their suggestion that we attend the Lexington Green reenactment this morning.
History 101 at 6 AM?
Mary Beth and I were out of bed at 3:15 this morning so that we could arrive at the Lexington Green by 4:45 AM to see the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington. As we drove into Lexington under the cloak of darkness, we began to think that 4:45 AM may have been a bit too late. Thousands of people of all ages had arrived before us, and thousands more were on their way. Some were carrying step ladders to ensure their view of the Green.
Fortunately we did get a front row standing spot (albeit an obstructed view thanks to a very old pine tree that obviously had arrived before us). We stood with folks from around the nation. Volunteers dressed in colonial clothes worked as “pickets” and made sure that everyone stayed behind the ropes, but several also came by and delivered mini-history lessons. They wanted to make sure that everyone knew the story behind what we were about to witness.
At 5:45 AM, the loudspeakers that surrounded the Green came to life, and the crowd went silent. The speaker once again made sure that everyone knew the background of what they were about to see. He also introduced some visitors from Lexington’s sister city in France and reminded those present that the Revolution might not have been won without the help of the French.
More Grateful Than Ever
Check out www.battleroad.org and click on “What Happened That Day” to get a brief summary of the events that then unfolded before us. It was surprising how apprehensive we became as the British soldiers approached the Green (and the somewhat disheveled colonial militia men) with their full regalia, fife and drums, and muskets with bayonets.
A very solemn morning for me. I’m glad that my clients and former neighbors Klaus and Sherry Schneller encouraged us to go. The VIP passes, map and directions were very much appreciated.