April 26 – As I was typing this blog, I suddenly thought of a date just about a week ago (April 18) and the related poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Longfellow. As I have mentioned before, I have always loved history, if it’s possible to love a school subject. Maybe I should rephrase that and change the word love to enjoy! I spent four years at Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts, majoring in history, and had numerous opportunities on college field trips to historical sites to learn firsthand as our school bus took us all across the state.
Some scholars say that some of the information about Paul Revere might be untrue, that the words just “sound good,” but even if that’s so, I still have very special memories of what I saw and heard on those trips. How could anyone who has studied history and poetry ever forget about Paul and his midnight riding to warn of the coming of the British! I especially remember the statue of the Minuteman in Lexington.
Unfortunately, just as so many holidays are celebrated over the weekends these days, so is Patriot’s Day, rather than on the original date of April 19. Now celebrations at Concord, Lexington, and Boston are on the third Sunday in April. Just so you can let your mind enjoy Longfellow’s poem once more, here are a few lines, ones that are well known and special.
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...
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm—
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will awaken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
Have you ever wondered what our very special nation would be like today if some of our great heroes were running for office now, especially for president? These days as I listen to the political speeches, to the chatter of those who are so certain that our country would be better in every way “if I win in the primaries and general election,” I am not so sure it would still be the nation we love so much. Each of the candidates seems to think that if everyone would — and should—support him/her, we surely would be a world leader in every way. However, I think that maybe as my brother used to say, “Know what? I think the best candidate would never get into the race, but is happy and content to do his daily job to the best of his ability.”
An idea I have been talking about for a long time is this: Why can’t we have all of the state primaries take place in the month of October every four years. No campaigning—at all– before that! Think of the time and money that could be saved, and maybe used to help those who really need more than they can earn at their jobs—if they are fortunate enough to have one! – CHRIS