Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Shot Heard Around the World

Lexington Battle Green
 Every school kid of my generation and perhaps even the younger generations has heard about Lexington and knows that the first shots of the Revolutionary War occurred here. Those of us who have read more about the subject knows that it occurred on a triangular piece of land between the roads to Concord, Bedford and Cambridge. Still as we came to the place for the first time on a city bus, I almost missed it due to its diminutive size. I was expecting something much bigger. Versed in modern warfare, I would have felt terribly exposed standing on that green with a much larger and better armed enemy force sharing the same plot of land. I guess it is a testimony to the courage of those that fought and died there.

Grave site of the fallen patriots
 Eight militiamen died that day and seven of them were buried here under the obelisk... eventually. Like what occurred so often back then, they were actually buried in a nearby graveyard first and eventually moved and buried here sixty years later. Their grave marks the western edge of the line the patriots held with their eastern edge marked by the boulder seen below.

Lexington Battle Green
 Standing by the grave looking back towards Buckman Tavern, you can see the entire 1.5 acres of the area. The white pole on the right is a flag pole (with the flag above the frame of view) and is one of only eight sites in the United States where the U.S. flag is required by law to fly 24 hours a day, all year long.

Captain John Parker is credited with saying the words etched into this boulder that marks the eastern edge of the militiamen line. However most say he was more passive and said something along the lines of don't molest them unless they molest us first, leaving out any mention of the word 'war'. Captain Parker is thought to have told his men to disperse and let the British pass by but either the order was ignored or not heard. Since they had spent a long night in the Buckman Tavern seen below, waiting for the slow British to arrive, I'm guessing alcohol played a part in the order not being heard. For whatever reason, shots were fired, a war was started and it did begin right there on Lexington Battle Green. I have felt very few wars in my lifetime were worth the price of human treasure, but in this case, I'm glad they paid the price.

Buckman Tavern


sage said...

Do they still serve up drinks at Buckman Tavern?

Ed said...

Sage - Unfortunately no. It is a souvenir shop and if you pay some money, you get a quick tour of some of the other rooms to see how things looked from that era.