Monday, April 24, 2006
at 8:48 AM
Some of you are aware that in Massachusetts we have a state holiday called Patriot's Day to commemorate the battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. Sudbury, the town from which I hail, sent the largest militia of all surrounding towns to the battle on April 19, 1775. Although Longfellow's Midnight Ride of Paul Revere tells the story of Paul sounding the alarm on the 18th, he didn't make it to Sudbury. But someone else did and off to the North Bridge a contingent of farmers and townsmen went.
Revolutionary War cemetery, Sudbury MA 01776
Perhaps interesting to you Postal Employees and history buffs, in the 60s or whenever zip codes came into being, a prominent citizen of Sudbury, Forrest Bradshaw (whose daughter married my uncle, making my cousins his grandchildren) launched a campaign to obtain a distinctive zip code for Sudbury. In direct competition with towns like Boston, Concord and Lexington, Forrest was successful in his mission and much to the dissappointment of Concord, Lexington and Boston, Sudbury Massachusetts' was given the zip code of 01776.
Town of Sudbury Flag
Today, members of the Sudbury Minute Company gather on the common in the wee hours of the morning every April 19th to reenact the march to Concord. Although some years ago the state changed Patriot's Day to the 3rd Monday in April, the Sudbury Minute Company will not yield to the tyrant and continues to hold their march to the North Bridge on April 19, no matter the day of the week.
Old North Bridge, Concord, MA 01742
The Bicentennial Celebrations in 1976 brought President Gerald Ford to the area. Sudbury's Militia Company was selected by the President and his Secret Service as Honor Guard. The Militia protected the President armed with only the traditional weapons: muskets, pitchforks and what ever other sharp objects or farming implements were at hand. Other area towns that participate in reenactments frequently wear matching uniforms. Sudbury's Minute Company is one of the few militia in the area who wear clothing that would have been worn by the farmers and townsmen from that time period. There was no 'army' and there were no uniforms. Just a bunch of menfolk from town who picked up what they had for weapons, wearing the clothes they wore every day and responded to a call, changing the world forever.
Minuteman statue Concord, MA
My friend George, a member of the Sudbury Minute Company, is married to my friend Melinda who works in the Town Hall with me. Last week on the 19th, George stopped by to let Melinda know that her man had survived the battle and was safe and sound. Of course I had to capture the moment for posterity.
Hope you enjoyed the history lesson. Have a revolutionary day!