Have you thanked a Founder today?

April 21st, 2010


“There they now stood, side by side…with arms in their hands, silent and fearless, willing to shed their blood for their rights…John Parker, the strongest and best wrestler in Lexington, had promised never to run from the British troops; and he kept his vow. A wound brought him on his knees. Having discharged his gun, he was preparing to load it again, when he was stabbed by a bayonet, and lay on the post which he took at the morning’s drumbeat…”–George Bancroft, historian, founder of the Naval Academy, on the Battle of Lexington Green, where 70-some Minute Men faced 700 British Regulars, Apr. 19, 1775.

Here’s an interesting story via Jules Crittenden in honor of Monday’s Patriot Day:

Mary Hartwell of Concord:

‘Your grandfather, who was sergeant, left the house, joining the neighbors as soon as the alarm reached us. I did up the chores at the barn, and cared for the children as well as I could in my anxiety. When thus occupied, a colored woman who lived near us came in to spread the news of the approach of the British, but was afraid to go farther; so I said, “If you will take care of my baby, I will go and give the warning.” I started for a neighbor’s house, glancing down the road, and saw such a sight as I can never forget. The army of the king was coming up in fine order, their red coats were brilliant, and their bayonets glistening in the sunlight made a fine appearance; but I knew what all that meant, and I feared that I should never see your grandfather again, although I then knew nothing of their bloody work at Lexington.

“‘I saw an occasional horseman dashing by, going up and down, but heard nothing more until I saw them coming back in the afternoon, all in confusion, wild with rage, and loud with threats. I knew there had been trouble, and that it had not resulted favorably for that retreating army. I heard the musket-shots just below, by the old Brooks Tavern, and trembled, believing that our folks were killed. Some of the rough, angry soldiers rushed up to this house and fired in; but fortunately for me and the children, the shots went into the garret, and we were safe. How glad I was when they all got by the house, and your grandfather and our neighbors reached home alive!’”

“I could not sleep that night, for I knew there were British soldiers lying dead by the roadside; and when, on the following morning, we were somewhat calmed and rested, we gave attention to the burial of those whom their comrades had failed to take away. The men hitched the oxen to the cart, and went down below the house, and gathered up the dead. As they returned with the team and the dead soldiers, my thoughts went out for the wives, parents, and children away across the Atlantic, who would never again see their loved ones; and I left the house, and taking my little children by the hand, I followed the rude hearse to the grave hastily made in the burial-ground. I remember how cruel it seemed to put them into one large trench without any coffins. There was one in a brilliant uniform, whom I supposed to have been an officer. His hair was tied up in a cue.”

She could still view the deceased with Christian charity.

From the Library of Congress (where we wish our legislators would check out a book once in a while instead of Sandy Berger checking them back in, altered for the Clintons):

Mr. Everett has described Peter Salem, a black man, and once a slave, as having been among the most prominent and meritorious characters at the battle of Bunker’s Hill. Indeed, the historical painting of that scene, by Col. Trumbull, an eyewitness, done in 1785, gives Peter Salem, with other black patriots, a conspicuous place. One of the latter is thus commemorated:

“To the Honorable General Court of the Massachusetts Bay: The subscribers beg leave to report to your Honorable House (which we do in justice to the character of so brave a man), that, under our own observation, we declare that a negro man, called Salem Poor, of Col. Frye’s regiment, Capt. Ames’ company, in the late battle at Charlestown, behaved like an experienced officer, as well as an excellent soldier. To set forth particulars of his conduct would be tedious. We would beg leave to say, in the person of this said negro, centres a brave and gallant soldier. The reward due to so great and distinguished a character, we submit to the Congress.” Cambridge, Dec. 5, 1775.

But…but I was told there were no black Tea Partiers, that they are all almost as white as the editorial board of the New York Times or MSNBC’s roster of roosters!

With just a little moral imagination, we can put ourselves in these patriots’ shoes. They were not storybook cut-outs, but just as real as you and me; men and women, black and white. They stood up in their way, in their day.

And now its our turn.

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  1. April 21st, 2010 at 15:46 | #1
    Thanks for the link
  2. April 21st, 2010 at 18:01 | #2
    "You betcha'!"
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