Patriot’s Day and the Bell that Rang to Begin the American Revolution

I had a history lesson yesterday.  If you don’t live in Massachusetts — the third Monday in April is always Patriot’s Day!  It was officially made a Massachusetts Holiday in 1894 and marks the beginning of the American Revolution (as well as the Boston Marathon!). I learned about the bells that rang that signaled the minutemen to arms against the British.  I always thought that the bells rang in Old North Church in Boston. But…no. The lanterns hung in Old North Church —  one if by land, two if by sea! The British were making their approach to Lexington and Concord where large supplies of ammunition were stored.  If they could capture those, they would essentially stop the Colonialists in their tracks. Without munitions, the Minutemen would be lost against the British. The two lanterns that hung in the bell tower of Old North Church were only there for 60 seconds, but that was enough to let Paul Revere and thirty others know to expect the British to row across the river and make their way west.  After the 19 mile ride to Lexington, the bell was rung in the Old Belfry on Lexington Green, alerting the Minutemen of the approach of the British soldiers. It rang at 5:30 that morning in 1894, and is rung in commemoration each year on Patriot’s Day at that same time!  By 6:00 the British had arrived, thinking they would “surprise” these farmers, and instead were routed by the untrained soldiers. They went from there to Concord, and before the day was out, the shot rang out that was heard around the world, and the Revolution was begun.

— Mary Shannon, member of the Community of Jesus Bellringers at the Church of the Transfiguration


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