Monday, April 18, 2011

Patriot's Day

Besides the running of the Boston Marathon, and a traditional home game at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox, Patriot's Day is an important day in American History.

Commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is observed in Massachusetts and Maine (once part of Massachusetts). Observances and re-enactments of these first battles of the American Revolution occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts, (around 6:00 am) and The Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts,

North Bridge, Concord MA.

(around 9:00 am). In the morning, a mounted re-enactor with state police escort retraces Paul Revere's ride, calling out warnings the whole way.

Below is a famous poem that most of had to learn to recite in grammar school!  Some of us had to recite it from memory!

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere 


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;=
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.


  1. Hi a Brit, I feel a bit wrong commenting on this post!! However, I've followed the Paul Revere trail in Boston & our school commemmorated the Bicentenniel in 1976, so maybe you'll forgive me! Great to remember these important historical dates I think - we have a few coming up. Brings it all to life. Happy Monday x

  2. Wonderful history for Massachusetts and the entire country! I've never been to Boston but would love to visit one day.

  3. Hurray for Patriot's Day! SB and I have always wanted to stay in a B&B right on the green in Lexington so we could watch the drama unfold when the reenactors come to Lexington and Concord. The whole area is such a beautiful place to visit, walk, and research the history that unfolded right there...

  4. Maine was part of Massachusetts. I'm going to have to do some reading. I never knew that!

  5. I remember reading that poem in school too. Happy Patriots Day, all you Americans!

  6. I think we had to memorize a verse of that poem for a history pageant!

    Great post. No Patriot's Day in Florida....


  7. I'm thankful for those early patriots too!
    Say you ran a race today? ;)

  8. What an interesting post; I have family in the Boston area and it is always such a thrill to go visit. Today I learned so much from you; thank you and I loved hearing your voice on the side bar. Nice touch!

  9. Love all the history that is very apparent in the's so different than living in CA...wish we had more of it over here:)

  10. I love seeing other people's lives. I've never heard of Patriot's Day before now. What a history, and oh my goodness, what a long poem to learn!

  11. Oh yes, I remember that from high school. Happy Patriot's Day!


  12. Steve and I were in Concord On Sunday. Went to North Bridge and Sleepy Hollow Cementary to Author's Ridge. Funny how Paul Revere gets all the credit. What about William Dawes? Just as important and there is also a poem written about him too.

  13. A belated Happy Patriot's Day!!

    Susan and Bentley


I'm thrilled you've stopped by and I always enjoy your comments! Thank you!