A long time ago, on a farm field not very far away, a great adventure took place.
We've reached Patriot's Day around these parts. The Boston Marathon is Monday, and a whole host of local festivities going on around the region.
Not the least of which is all the re-enactments of that fateful morn.
As Americans, we all somewhat instinctively know our own history. But some of it is inaccurate. At the very least, we're surely familiar with that horribly inaccurate poem
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
Well, unfortunately...after that first stanza, the poet goes on to get most of the rest of the details wrong. He completely left out another rider, the far less well-known William Dawes.
So today, we'll try to tie those long-ago events to something a little more modern. It's the Death Star.
Starting with William Dawes - he was possibly the nucleus of the whole thing. Long before the British marched on Concord, a small group of the Sons of Liberty stole four brass cannon that protected the town gate on Boston Neck. That group was led by William Dawes.
Those cannon eventually made their way to Barrett Farm out in Concord and became part of the Patriot arsenal. This is where the British were going on that night. Learning that Sam Adams and John Hancock were staying at nearby Lexington was an added bonus.
But thanks to the warnings - those cannon are actually still there
, and as we know, the rest is history.
But where does Star Wars come in?
William Dawes would be our Luke Skywalker here. He stole the brass cannon (bought the droids) answered the call and took an enormous risk on the night of April 18 (blew up the Death Star) and then faded into obscurity. (Self-exiled to Anch-To). Today, William Dawes is remembered by historical junkies like me, but if you go around our vast land and ask who sounded the alarm before the revolution, you'll only hear about Paul Revere.
Paul, in our tale, would be the swashbuckling smuggler Han Solo. Paul was a businessman in Boston, a leader of the Sons of Liberty, and one of the best networkers in US History. There wasn't a person of consequence in or out of this fair city that Paul didn't know. On that fateful night, it wasn't so much where Paul rode - it was more important that he knew who to tell in the towns he passed through.
But Paul almost didn't ride at all. He was in Boston, at his home in the North End, when those lanterns were lit. Paul, apparently being a micro-manager, rowed across Boston Harbor himself to make sure the message had been received by the Charlestown Minutemen. Finding success, he got a horse too and rode, to make doubly-sure that message got where it was supposed to. In essence, Paul swooped in at the last minute, made sure Will did what he was told, and "Took all the credit and got all the reward".
Lastly, we find Wedge Antilles. At the Death Star, he felt like more of an afterthought. Nothing went right for him that day, and at the critical moment, he had to pull away and save his own skin. We'll have the least-known rider of the day, Dr. Samuel Prescott as his parallel.
Dr. Prescott was out late on the evening of April 18. At the scandalous hour of midnight, he was riding back to Concord after visiting with his lady friend in neighboring Lexington. Will and Paul were headed that way as well, although somewhat unsure of the best route. Discovering the good Doctor, he offered to guide them to Concord. It's a good thing he did, too. Just outside Lexington, the three men were ambushed by a British Patrol. Paul Revere was captured and nearly shot. William Dawes fell off his horse and played dead - hoping for the best. Only Sam Prescott, a native of the area, knew the back woods and was able to escape.
So there you have it. A stretch in some parts - but it's conceivably not that far-fetched that Star Wars Episode IV is actually a creative retelling of the events of April 18-19, 1775.
Naturally, I'll be out in the thick of things. The Troop is headed for the Isaac Davis Camporee
on Sunday morning. We'll overnight in the fields near Acton, MA. Around 4:15 am, historically accurate, a re-enactor will ride into camp and rouse us all with the news that the Regulars are on the march. We'll head to the Isaac Davis homestead, muster with the Acton Minutemen, and then we'll march for the Old North Bridge ourselves to defend our homes, our lives, and our sacred honor.