Of the heroes of April 18-19, 1775 come to our attention, those super-annuated in their Number captures the attention of your host. One such man was Jonas Parker, the uncle of the commander at Lexington, Capt. Parker. While his exact age is difficult to verify, as the uncle of the leader he would logically have been a generation older. The following is an excerpt from this web site :
“Captain Parker, fearing a confrontation and bloodshed, shouts to his men. GIVE WAY, MEN. FALL BACK!! The men in the front ranks begin to obey and turn to the rear. The men remaining in the rear rank push them back into position. Due to the confusion, the British decide to release the two men from Woburn, Asahel Porter and Josiah Richardson.
Jonas Parker pushes his way from the rear to the center of the line. He removes his hat and slams it to the ground. He shouts defiantly: NO SIR! HERE I STAY!!!
Jonas Parker then begins to unload his cartridges into his hat. The front rank now pushes their way through the second rank some back away while others turn and hurry off.
The Light Company of the Tenth forms a single extended line and starts forward with their weapons and charged bayonets. They let out a shout. (Drum): HUZZAH!!!
At the shout, the air is broken by a shot from the corner of Buckman Tavern, from where Solomon Brown has discharged his musket, wounding a private in the leg. This British soldier, Johnson, falls.
A sergeant yells: THEY ARE FIRING!! THEY ARE FIRING!!
Lt. Sutherland (the Lieutenant of the Tenth) commands: FIRE!! FIRE!
At which the tenth breaks ranks and advances, firing. Jonas Parker opens fire, followed by Nathan Munroe. Parker starts to reload, but is hit by British fire. He falls, but struggles to rise and still attempts to continue loading”
Jonas Parker was not being careless with his life but pursuing a goal consistent with his desires for his fellowman. One easily understands the frustrations of an older man in the militia to bring matters to a head.
Since he lived to tell the tale, we take this from a monument near Arlington on the perilous road back to Boston which the British were forced to travel.
“Near this spot, Samuel Whittemore, then 80 years old, killed three British soldiers, April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten and left for dead, but recovered and lived to be 90 years of age.
(Arlington Marker)” -- Ibid
As I looked across the Tea Party gathering in Cassville, Missouri on Friday, the third, I noted a preponderance of gray hair in the crowd. The commander of the local American Legion Post then announced that a change in the rules now allowed veterans to use the hand salute for the Pledge of Allegiance while in civilian attire. This revealed that nearly all the adult men in the gathering were indeed veterans and the thought of Samuel Whittemore’s bold actions came to mind.
It posed the question: “Are there indeed Samuel Whittemore’s among us?” I say yes!
The well-trained British regulars suffered 73 dead, 174 wounded, and 26 missing on that fateful April day.. Although outnumbered nearly 8 to 1, the colonials lost only 49 dead, 40 wounded and 5 missing.
The British rarely left the safety of Boston again.
Today marks our separation from the motherland. Amidst the hotdogs, fireworks, and marks of a typical US holiday, keep in mind the courage, love of country, and bravery of those who fought to make our celebrations possible. All gave some: some gave all.
In His abiding love,