On this day in 1775 irregular militia and spontaneous volunteers, eventually numbering almost 4000, confronted British infantry at the Massachusetts towns of Concord and Lexington. After several engagements British troops retreated into Boston which then remained under siege into the summer. Insurgent forces lost nearly fifty dead. At least 73 British troops were killed.
On this day in 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a rental truck packed with self-made explosives in a drop off zone just beside — and slightly beneath — the structural curtain of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The date was chosen by McVeigh to coincide with the battles of Lexington and Concord (and the 1993 Waco siege that ended on April 19 with the death of 76). One-hundred sixty-eight were killed by the Oklahoma City blast. More than six hundred were injured.
The annual Boston Marathon is part of a wider celebration of Patriots’ Day which celebrates the battles of Lexington and Concord. Since 1969 Patriots’ Day has been observed on the third Monday in April. In 2013 three were killed in two bombings near the marathon’s finish line. Over 260 were injured.
An excerpt from Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
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.