The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, but the real birth of the nation occurred 15 months before, on April 19, 1775, when—as poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in ‘Concord Hymn’—the first shots of the American revolution were fired.
“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.”
Another poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, added to the legend born that day in his much lengthier “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
“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 red-coats 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.”
These were the armed citizens of Massachusetts colony fighting tyranny and resisting disarmament by a government that had become oppressive. They had no Congress nor Constitution, no right to peaceably assemble and petition Government for a redress of grievances.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord may not even be taught much in school these days. Perhaps it is not politically correct to remind the next generation of citizens and their elected representatives that the birth of this nation began with a march of British Regulars to seize the arms and munitions of the militia. History does not record who fired the first shot, but eight Colonials were killed on Lexington Common.
By the time the Regulars arrived at Concord, several hundred militiamen had gathered to meet them. At the North Bridge, the shooting started in earnest, and as the British troops headed back to Boston, they were followed by those “embattled farmers” who provided a lesson in frontier warfare, shooting from behind trees, rocks, stone walls, buildings; any cover and concealment they could utilize.
That was the day a nation was born, but today the political left would never stand for declaring April 19 a national holiday. It was, after all, a day that proved the value of private gun ownership and provided the platform for writing the Second Amendment and including it in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. When freemen are armed, they can just say “No.”
Perhaps as evidenced by the thousands of local, state and federal gun control laws now in place, the left dislikes and disagrees with the constitutionally-enumerated protection of the right to keep and bear arms. It is why that right has been infringed, say critics, piece by piece over the course of decades.
When the question was posed on social media asking what those “embattled farmers” might think of the nation today, it elicited some interesting reactions.
One man observed, “They’d think we were a bunch of Lilly-livered milk toasts.”
Another fellow suggested, “They’d be MAD AS HELL, and probably confused as to who to shoot first.”
A third man wrote, “they’d be ashamed of their descendants.”
Those embattled farmers risked it all. It might be interesting to ask them today if it was worth it. Presumably, they would say “Yes.”