On April 19, 1775, the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord. Ralph Waldo Emerson captured the significance of that day in a poem he wrote for the July 4, 1837 ceremony dedicating the new Concord Monument. The poem immortalizing the resistance of the Minutemen to British troops is aptly known as the “Concord Hymn”:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
Roughly fifty Minutemen died on April 19, 1775. Their sacrifice changed the course of history.