Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Patriots Day!

Today marks the 234th anniversary of the "Shot Heard 'Round The World". The opening salvo of the American War of Independence occurred on April 19th, 1775 . It is also the date of the first battle against gun control. The only difference was that the enemy government then was the British Crown and not our own "American" politicians, (politicians who have actually sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and, by extension, the Bill of Rights). The British sent their standing army of Regulars to seize the arms of the militia at Concord. Too bad for them that the word of their plans had already been spread far and wide. The weapons were already long gone and the militia had been alerted. What came next is history that should never be forgotten. Especially by those who occupy seats of power and would disarm the populace.
About 700 British Army regulars, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were given secret orders to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. Through effective intelligence gathering, Patriot colonials had received word weeks before the expedition that their supplies might be at risk, and had moved most of them to other locations. They also received details about British plans on the night before the battle, and were able to rapidly notify the area militias of the military movement.

The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington. The militia were outnumbered and fell back, and the regulars proceeded on to Concord, where they searched for the supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, several hundred militiamen fought and defeated three companies of the King's troops. The outnumbered regulars fell back from the Minutemen after a pitched battle in open territory.

More Minutemen arrived soon thereafter and inflicted heavy damage on the regulars as they marched back towards Boston. Upon returning to Lexington, Smith's expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Hugh, Earl Percy. A combined force of about 1,700 men marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and eventually reached the safety of Charlestown. The accumulated militias blockaded the narrow land accesses to Charlestown and Boston, starting the Siege of Boston.
The greatest army in the world was turned away by farmers, shopkeepers, smithy's and other "commoners". We stand today because men with courage and fortitude stood against the powers that be and fought back to defend that most basic of rights. The right to keep and bear arms for defence of self and community. Those who would repeat the folly of the Kings men should remember this and hold it as a solid truth. History does repeat itself when necessary. When diplomacy and politics fail the heroes of Patriots Day will stand as inspiration and example to us all.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson
While we shall be celebrating Patriots Day today, we can rest assured that those within the Washington, D.C. Beltway will not be paying their respects on this day. This is not a day of reverence for them, it is one of fear.

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