This year marks the 237th year of American Independence. The noble American experience with freedom and justice for all began here and everything that took shape and form since, had its beginnings in this place. We are called the Cradle of Liberty as a result. It is altogether an appropriate appellation.
Patriot’s Day 2012 marks a moment in our national history – and in our local history – when America appears to be standing at a crossroads, locked in a divisive political stalemate when the economic power of the land has been temporarily diminished.
Boston remains an important Hub of the American universe. Everything about Boston is rooted in the profusion of extraordinary events following Paul Revere’s Ride on that fateful night in April, 1775 when the British General Gates began moving his men toward Concord and Lexington where the subsequent shots heard round the world changed the course of history for mankind.
The immortal words of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow capture best the moment when the American Revolution began. The following is some of that famous poem so much a part of the history that has unfolded since he wrote it.
The residents of Boston, and of the North End, were asleep when Revere went about his task.
“Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
On the 18th of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly is a man now alive
Who remembers that day and year.
He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea fro the town tonight,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the Old 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 climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled pigeons from their perch
On the somber 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 all over town
And the moonlight flowing over all…
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.”