Written January 9, 2013     

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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry


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The Tea Party was just for show.

It was a demonstration. A dust up driven by the anger of people unhappy with arbitrary and vexing taxes.

It made the news, it has passed into our heritage, but it didn’t mean that much.

The Tea Party was only a milestone on the path to freedom.

The rubber met the road at the Lexington green and the Concord bridge.

In Lexington and Concord, it all got real. Pushed and pushed and pushed some more, at Lexington and Concord, the cause of American freedom stood up on its feet and fought.

This was the morning after Paul Revere’s ride. Paul and a handful of others rode an interlocking pattern of alarm over the Massachusetts countryside in the dark of an April night in 1775. It was really a pre-planned response to the heavy boot of government oppression on the road into town.

As hundreds of British regulars marched from Boston out toward Lexington and Concord, Paul and the others woke farmers and merchants, men who had drilled and trained and elected officers, and the militia rose.

That was the men from town.

Every man of able body, from 16 to 60, gathered with his gun on the Lexington green and above the North Bridge in Concord, mustered with his neighbors and kin to defend their town and their turf and their freedom.

They stood on the Lexington green, watching the regulars march by, and a shot rang out and others rang out and where the old men, the veterans of the French and Indian wars, stood rock steady, the young men scattered under the fear of fire.

It was an uncertain skirmish, an unintended bloodletting, and the government men pushed on through Lexington to Concord.

Which was where the Americans stood.

They used the choke point of the bridge and the element of surprise and their quickly growing numbers and they cut them down at the bridge.

The Revolution was on.

It was an honest-to-goodness uprising, the line in the sand and the crossing thereof. The American snake had been trod on, and its fangs had sunk deep.

More than a year before the Declaration, before there was thought of independence or war, after years of escalating harshness from the government overseers.

That’s when the people fought back.

Sure, there had been the Boston Massacre, the snowball fight that left Americans dead in a heap. There had been the Stamp Act and the Tea Tax and the Committees of Correspondence and the Sons of Liberty and the tea in the harbor.

There had been speeches and pamphlets and a rising level of discontent and contempt.

But it had not become violent. It had not become rebellion. It was a civil issue, a matter to be redressed, a culture to be explained.

For years on end.

But then it was one if by land and two if by sea and this armed march into the countryside was met by something other than cold indifference.

It was met by Liberty’s fist, in fire and lead, and from that point on the government was fundamentally doomed.

It would take more years, and a seemingly miraculous hand, but that day in April 1775 was when it all truly started.

Which begs the question: Why?

Why then? After years of past insult, after decades of amazing patience, after embracing a culture of their own Britishness, why did these men from town and country come together to fight for their families, faith, home and liberty?

What was different?

At the Boston Massacre, it was an issue of justice and heavy handedness. With the Stamp Act it was a meddlesome and burdensome tax, as it was with the Tea Tax. Those two were about money.

But Lexington and Concord were about something else.

They were about guns.

In that fateful move by the government, it was decided that government agents would sweep into Concord and capture its militia guns.

That was what the Minute Men thought was important enough to fight over. And that’s how the war came to begin and, ultimately, how we came to be free.

The flash point wasn’t a new regulation or tax, it wasn’t an oppressive governor or further restrictions on the people’s liberties.

It was the guns. Of all the oppressions and irritations, of all the insults and disrespects, of the taxes and regulations, the spark that set the whole thing off was guns.

When the government came to take away their guns, the war started.

That’s probably something good for governments to remember.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2013

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