A shot still echoing around the world

March 23, 2023

On April 19, 1689, Lt. John Heald led Concord militia into Boston to seize and arrest the King’s Governor Edmund Andros in order to preserve their traditional rights as Englishmen.

On April 19, 1775, the British Empire struck back, with Military Governor General Gage sending nearly 800 British Regulars to arrest rebels and destroy Concord’s munitions. The American Revolution began that day with the shot heard round the world.

That fight for freedom can still be heard round the world ever since.

April 19, 1825, at the 50th celebration, a 22-year-old Unitarian seminary student and son of Concord, Ralph Waldo Emerson, gave his first public speech in Concord. At the 100th anniversary on April 19, 1875, President U. S. Grant, with his vice president, three cabinet secretaries, and Speaker of the House James Blaine marked the importance of that date for preserving freedom. President Gerald Ford addressed the April 19, 1975 celebration at the North Bridge, facing a 40,000 person People’s Bicentennial camped on Minuteman National Park grounds.

Over the next 24 months, Concord is preparing our 250th celebration in 2025 of those freedoms still heard round the world.

Over 80 volunteers have signed on to help the Concord250 (concord250.org) committee and its various subcommittees to plan suitable celebrations over the next two years. We are actively seeking more ideas and volunteers to join these celebrations.

On Monday, April 10, Concord250 will hold a public forum at 7 p.m. at the Harvey Wheeler Center to discuss what kind of permanent memorial might be most appropriate for our April 19, 2025 celebration. Then we will kick-off our two years of planned events with a celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 14, of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ellen Garrison, daughter of the self-emancipated Jack Garrison, granddaughter of formerly enslaved and revolutionary soldier Caesar Robbins, who grew up in Concord public schools to become an educator and activist in her own right.

Concord’s history might not be just as you learned it in school, but the story told whole is far more interesting. Come learn the whole story and plan your part in it.Contributed by Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom jimsherblom@gmail.com on behalf of the Concord250 communications and publications subcommittee.