“The British are coming; the British are coming!”

Paul Revere didn’t actually shout that as he galloped on his famous ride. It would have been beside the point to shout – the British had eyes and ears everywhere, and to shout would have ruined the whole resistance. Instead, Revere stopped his horse at each house along the way, knocked at the door, and quietly communicated to each patriot that the redcoats were preparing to march into Concord to seize a cache of weapons from the colonists. 

And actually, Paul Revere didn’t make it very far before he was captured by the British and held till the morning. William Dawes and Samuel Prescott were other riders that night who made it farther than Revere. When Revere was captured, Dawes and Prescott finished his ride to warn the people of Lexington and Concord.

The warnings of these three riders meant that the colonial minutemen were forewarned and prepared to defend their inalienable rights when the British came to violate their right to bear arms. The British were scared of a rebellion and had planned a ‘secret’ march to confiscate all weapons, but their actions actually caused the rebellion to light. 

Tensions between the American colonists and the British had been building for years, but today, 246 years ago, tension got to the breaking point. The date was April 19, 1775. The night before, Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott rode throughout the towns, preparing the colonists to defend their rights. And when the morning of April 19 dawned, the colonists were ready. 

As around 240 British troops marched towards the Massachusetts town of Concord, they were confronted in Lexington by 70 colonial militiamen. Both sides eyed each other warily, but each were ordered to make no move until the other did.

Someone fired a shot on the Lexington green. British or American? – no one knows who. By this ‘shot heard round the world’, the conflict and the struggle for freedom began. After a brief skirmish at Lexington, the British continued marching towards Concord with new troops that had joined them. However, more American militiamen also arrived and drove the British away from Concord. The American militia shot from behind fences and trees, surprising the British with the organization and seriousness of the encounter. 

These first battles at Lexington and Concord started one of the most significant wars of all time: The American Revolution. After many long years of war, suffering, and sacrifice, the colonists’ dreams were finally realized. This war, fought by the colonists to escape from the iron hand of tyranny, led to the establishment of a free country under a Constitution that limits the powers of government so it cannot infringe upon the people’s rights. This country has stood like a beacon – like a city on a hill – to the rest of the world as a symbol of freedom and growth. 

However, this Constitution that limits the tyranny of government is being challenged. 246 years ago today, the American colonists stood up for their rights with weapons. Will you, today, stand up for your rights with words? Will you kindly speak out against the things you know to be wrong? Will you endeavor to learn about your God-given rights so you can teach others? When you hear that “the British are coming”, don’t be paralyzed by fear. Instead – speak out, leave your comfort zone, and choose the path of liberty.