In Lexington, Massachusetts, the first battle of our Revolutionary War was fought on April 19, 1775. It was part of what became known as the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The Colonial Militiamen drove back the British Army. It was an effective start to a long war which came close to ending when General Cornwallis surrendered to the Americans in 1781. But did not officially end until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783 and was subsequently ratified by Congress in 1784.
This memorial was created by Bashka Paeff and was dedicated “to the Lexington Minute Men who were on the Green in the early morning engagement”. It stands near the Buckman Tavern, across from the Battle Green in Lexington. It is an unusual sculpture and tremendously effective in capturing the intensity of the Colonial Militia’s guerilla warfare against the British Red Coats.
These Minute Men are my heroes. Stories of their struggles and triumphs blanketed my childhood, right alongside tales of the then bounteous numbers of Catholic saints. Add in my immigrant ancestors, the founding fathers of this nation, the subsequent presidents, one pope and the regular GIs and their leaders during World War II to the mix and you have my list of most powerful influences. They all shaped the woman I became. Their collective courage inspired me, as did their fierce, sometimes overwhelming clarity of right versus wrong.
Standing in Lexington, gazing at Ms. Paeff’s stunning relief, I was reminded of that courage and sacrifice, and I was humbled.