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If they mean to have a war, let it begin here


Once again, the Regulars marched right through Lexington Green at dawn, killing a few colonists standing in their way as they headed toward Concord in search of militia munitions.

You learn a lot at the annual re-creation of the battle (which from start to finish, takes maybe five minutes, and most of that is the British soldiers assembling, locking bayonets and shouting "Huzzah!" before they shoot the first Minuteman and then stomp on him). To start, somebody from the Lexington Minutemen gives you an explanation of what you're about to see.

But you also learn that there are a couple thousand other insane people willing to get up before the crack of dawn to watch the battle. And because of that, and because Lexington Green is flat, you learn that if you ever make the trek again, you either need to make like the veteran battle-goers and bring a ladder to climb up on (or, at the minimum, a sturdy bucket) or you need to be nine years old and adept at worming your way through the crowd to the very edge of the battlefield.

It was puzzling at first to hear the victorious Redcoats march off the Green while their fifers played "Yankee Doodle Dandy," until I remembered that they were playing it to insult the Minutemen - who, by the end of the day, adopted the song as their own.

Father: So what'd you think?
Son: It's the same every year.

The dead, the dying and the incongruous:


Calm amid the chaos:

Free tagging: 


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My dad is a history wonk and is in town, so we took off quite early to get a good seat. By the time I got from the parking space to where my family was, they had set up for our pre-dawn continental breakfast in a spot with only kids and strollers in front. Judging from your photo, we weren't more than a few yards to your left. Of course there are always those few who arrive later and think they can push in. Sorry, but, um, no.

For future reference, if you get the kids over to the side by the grandstands, the organizers will take them all up to the front as the British approach ... well, not the front(!), but to some of the best seats in the house! Back in 2006, I handed my eldest (then 10) my camera as he followed the guy over to the kid area and he got some great pictures.

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I love the feeling of driving through the quiet streets and seeing the thousands of people once you reach Lexington center. Makes you feel a little less crazy for waking up before dawn to ostensibly watch a bunch of grown men play dress up.

And they get me every time with the "Don't fire unless fired upon! And if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!" line.

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Kelly takes their photos as they march to Old North Bridge.

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These are the best photos I've seen on this blog (I admit I haven't seen all of them). The first one is really good.

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We'd been saying we were going to go see this for weeks. So we dutifully set our alarm for 5:00, got up and managed to get out the door at 5:30. Lexington is about 20 minutes from our house, so we reached the Battle Green in our car around 5:50. Needless to say, we were at least an hour too late to find parking or have any chance of seeing the battle. *SIGH*

NEXT year we'll try again an hour earlier. I'll remember the tip about bringing a ladder. I did indeed see several people carrying ladders on the way to the Green and wondered why.

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