Patriot

Patriot's Day 2010, Lexington, MA

Happy Patriot’s Day! If I were home in Lexington today, I would have spent this morning freezing on the edge of the town green, waiting with thousands of other people for the British to arrive and for the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington to begin.

The minutemen (and boys) gather early, maybe 4am, and the diehards soon follow. The spectators climb into trees, perch on top of cars or stack themselves up stepladders; anything to see they action. On the field, the militia men shiver and chat amongst themselves. They’re probably talking about the Celtics or the Sox, but I choose to believe they are inhabiting their reenactment roles so much that they are anxiously discussing Paul Revere’s midnight ride or guessing at the impending arrival of the lobsterbacks.

We the spectators are nervous too. The mist is heavy, and though we know what’s coming, the first snap of a British snare drum startles the crowd. The anxiety is palpable, emanating from the men in britches nervously pacing the green. When the rows of redcoats finally come to a halt, the town is silent. The altercation between the British and the not yet Americans is brief and tense. Horribly outnumbered, the haggard minutemen refuse to recede. There’s a shot from somewhere nearby, and the mist is suddenly replaced by sparks and smoke and the sharp, metallic aroma of gunpowder.

There is no cheering and the battle, if one can call it that, is over in minutes. The bonnet-wearing townswomen run to the fallen men, and the British keep marching on to Concord. The crowd sighs, releasing tense shoulders, and gradually disperses. It’s time for pancakes, courtesy of the nearby churches.

I miss Massachusetts.

Related Post: More from Lexington. Small town police logs are the best.

Related Post: From earlier this week, poor teaching of American history can have some really negative consequences.

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