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Don't fire unless fired upon. But if they want to have a war, let it begin here!

– Captain John Parker
Commander of the patriot minuteman militia at the battle of Lexington

The Minute-Man

by Dora Bradford Hunter

With his eager, resolute eyes aglow,
Alert for a glimpse of the nearing foe,
With his sturdy shoulder backward thrown,
Facing odds that he dare not own,
Ready to start at the country's call,
To win if God will—if He will, to fall,
Whatever may cost the impending strife,
Home or fortune or limb or life—
Ready to give what the hour demands,
The hero of Concord's story stands.

Just as they stood on that April morn
When American liberty there was born;
Plows beside them, but arms in hand—
They, the Middlesex farmer-band.
Who dared to dream that these scattered groups
Could rout the orderly British troops?
That these farmer youth half-armed, untrained,
Could keep the fame of their State unstained?
But when His Majesty's soldiers came
To the spot now wearing so proud a name,
The minute-men marched down from the ridge
And won the day at the old North Bridge.

Concord river in quiet flows
Past the spot where the English dead repose,
And one hundred years has that night's renown
Been the heritage of the peaceful town.
Along the stream the historic sod
Is bright with daisies and golden-rod,
With never a hint of the bloody fight
That was won by the Concord yeomen's might.

But the minute-man is standing now
In his valor's strength, beside his plow,
On the spot where he fought at his country's call
A grateful people's memorial.
Does any one ask his rank or worth,
His fortune, family, name or birth?
This was a lad whose brave right arm,
Raised in the moment of dire alarm,
When first the sound of the foeman's gun
Resounded through Concord and Lexington,
Ne'er fell to his side till in dawn's gray light
The patriot farmers had won the fight.
But his name—his name—do you ask again?
He was one of the famous minute-men!

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 

– Galatians 5:1


Who were the minutemen?

The minutemen were special units of militia from the Massachusetts Bay colony who were trained to be ready for action "at a minute's notice," ready to leave their plows mid-furrow in the field if necessary at the sound of a galloping express rider, grab their muskets, powder horns, and a handful of musketballs, and hurry to the appointed assembly point.

The following is a description of how minuteman militia units were formed: "Members of the minutemen, in contrast to the regular militia, were no more than 30 years old, and were chosen for their enthusiasm, political reliability, and strength. They were the first armed militia to arrive at or await a battle. Officers were elected by popular vote, as in the rest of the militia, and each unit drafted a formal written covenant to be signed upon enlistment" (Wikipedia contributors, 2023).


Did You Know?

The Minute Man statue is a 7 foot tall bronze statue created by Daniel Chester French cast from old Civil War cannons. French is also noted for his creation of the Abraham Lincoln statue inside the Lincoln Memorial. The Minute Man was first unveiled for the Centennial celebration of the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1875. It sits near where the first colonial militia men were killed in action at the battle of Concord in 1775. On its base is inscribed the first stanza of the poem The Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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