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A Wake-Up Call: The Re-Enactment of the Battle of Lexington

April 29, 2009 by  

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Redcoats fire their muskets

One lantern in Old North Church meant that the British were marching on land.  Paul Revere galloped on horseback from Boston to Lexington. He spread the alarm, awakening every house along the road.

I was warned to awaken by the alarm on my cell phone. I knew, “The British were coming, get down to the town green.”  And by the time I arrived at 5:00 AM, a huge crowd had gathered.

In Massachusetts, The Battle of Lexington is re-enacted yearly on Patriot’s Day, on the very ground were it first took place in 1775. From the actions on that field the Revolutionary War began.

Today locals participate in costume, some taking on the role of  anarchists or members of the British regiment.  Many children also dress in colonial garb. They stay with their mothers, running onto the battle field after the conflict to tend the wounded, while other young lads beat drums in the corps.

The battle has been staged for 38 years to honor those who fought for our freedom. The scene is solemn, the crowd is hushed and the participants act with pride. The pre-dawn ceremonies begin with an announcer recounting the story of April 19, 1775, the fateful day of “the shot heard round the world .”

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The British Regiment

The actual fight was very brief; the colonists were confused and lacked leadership. The British regiment marched in unison, their lobster red coats piercing the early morning fog.

No one knows who fired the first shot, but after it was heard, mayhem broke out on the green and the local militia retreated. They were defeated in the skirmish, fell back and regrouped.

In 1775, many colonists traveled to nearby Concord to join other rebels. There they surprised and over powered the British. All day, they attacked the troops along what is now called Battle Road .

As I watched from the back of the crowd, the young children around me gasped at the face to face combat and rifle smoke. The teens were drawn into eye witnessing living history.  But, I was awestruck by the bravery of the fighting men.  The courage and bravado these first Americans showed was immense; they truly were passionate in their beliefs.

The crowd of thousands, present at the early hour, bespoke of their reverence for the day. I viewed the event as a wake up call, one that left me with a clearer understanding of Patriot’s Day and the debt we owe our forefathers.

The Boston area offers a variety of activities on this holiday weekend:  the annual Boston marathon, Red Sox games, the re-enactment of Paul Revere’s ride and the battles at Lexington and Concord. However, the small town of Lexington (population 30,000) deserves to be especially proud of the dignity preserved during their event. The re-enactment at dawn runs on time, remaining faithful to history. I was humbled and honored to stand on sacred ground.

Meeting the volunteer actors

Meeting the volunteer actors after the battle


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