The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
By John Wilder
“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…” Every day on my drive to work I think of that poem as I pass some of the landmarks from that era, most notably the Paul Revere Capture Site. In my own mind I think of the historical inaccuracies of the poem and of common belief; well, perhaps “The British are coming!” sounds better as a rallying cry than “The Regulars are coming out” spoken in hushed tones, and perhaps Revere is easier to rhyme than Prescott, Dawes, or the dozens of other riders who spread the word that night.
I remember every Patriots Day standing with the high school marching band in Medford Square awaiting Paul Revere to ride in on horseback and make his annual stop at the funeral home which was once a colonial tavern. Even before that, I remember going every year to the parade in Arlington and watching with my family; I probably saw Aleppo Shrine go by, but I was more focused on plastic noisemakers sold by vendors with shopping carts and the candy thrown out from floats and my father giving my sister and me a dollar each so we couldput it in the fireman’s boot as he went by.
It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized how truly local our holiday was. We had a fraternity brother visiting from Michigan, and he asked why we weren’t in classes that Monday that he arrived. When we told him the reason, he exclaimed “you have a holiday for your football team?!?!” After a good laugh, I explained to him what we were celebrating. I learned to truly appreciate where I had grown up; while Philadelphia and Boston may both claim the nickname “The Cradle of Liberty,” it was here where the War for Independence began. It was here on that fateful morning, “By the rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, here once that embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world…”
As of writing this, the holidays are behind us and January’s almost over. There’s only been one “real” snowstorm so far. We look back at another laughfilled Holiday Muster; it was great to see the unit room completely full! The January Ceremonial is more recent in memory and with a strong turnout, we were excited to gain some new members from it; a hearty welcome to Noble Rev. Matt Wissell who took the “forty shillings on the drum.” Another couple of other Nobles are in the application process and will join the ranks soon.
A “huzzah!” to our new Potentate Rob Havener as he officially starts his term in office; the Minutemen are behind you Illustrious Sir! (…though with our bayonets, maybe it should be the other way around…) The Executive Board gathered once more at the Ralston Estates and settled the early business of the unit; somehow it lasted about eight hours, though the business took up only two! We are looking forward to a strong year for the Minutemen and Aleppo with new members and another busy parade schedule. First up will be returning to Lawrence for St. Patrick’s; maybe this time the rest of the units will listen; we tried to warn you it was a cold one!
After that we will be looking forward to April and some of the events we love most: The Pole-Capping in Bedford and spending Patriots Day weekend in Arlington and Lexington! I’ll give due credit to Mr. Longfellow and Mr. Emerson, their words do fill you with pride. Aleppo’s Minutemen may not be at the bridge in Concord or on the green in Lexington, but we are just as proud to pay tribute to our forefathers who fought to secure a better future!