On April 19 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord took place, igniting the Revolutionary War. British troops aimed to confiscate colonial weapons and were met with a group of 77 angry militiamen. The men, all of whom were untrained to fight in battle, defeated the 700 British soldiers and brought victorious confidence to the war that was just beginning. Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his “Concord Hymn,” described the first shot as being the “shot heard ‘round the world.”
Every year, we celebrate Patriots Day on the third Monday of April with reenactments by thousands of members of local minutemen companies, militias, and historical societies throughout Boston, Lexington, and Concord. And, since 1897, we also celebrate with the running of the Boston Marathon, which is the world’s oldest annual marathon. This Monday, while runners fight through their 26-mile run across the Boston landscape, militiamen will reenact those first battles that started our path to freedom.