In Concord, Cycles of History

This is the second of my postings, capturing my thoughts and reflections at the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, site of the "shot heard round the world". In the first, I introduced the series with a consideration of the import of the memorial to the two fallen British soldiers. In this installment, I will consider how they came to be there and how those events echo our own time.

I go often, to pray and ponder at the North Bridge, walk down the processional aisle between the twin rows of pines, stop to pay my respects at the graves of the two British soldiers and to pray not only for them but for all soldiers who fight and die in foreign lands, for our soldiers who are overseas and for our Republic. My next stop, is the obelisk, a few feet behind me.

"Here On the 19 of April 1775 was made
The first forcible resistance
to British aggression.
On the opposite Bank
Stood the American Militia
Here stood the Invading Army
and on this spot
the first of the enemy fell
in the War of the Revolution
which gave Independence
to these United States
In gratitude of God
and In the love of freedom
this monument was erected.
AD 1836"

I came to this spot, between the two monuments, one month short of the 208th anniversary of the Battle of Concord, on March 19, 2003 to contemplate what brought these two British soldiers to this spot.

The were sent, you see, on a mission to seek out and confiscate or destroy Weapons of War in the hands of dangerous fanatics who were a threat to their homeland thousands of miles away, and to capture and arrest two of the most dangerous of the fanatics' leaders. They never found the weapons. They never captured the leaders. But the locals, fearing that their town was being burned down by the invading army, who by the way, were actually trying to save the town, took up arms, joined the militias in huge numbers and using tactics that violated the rules of war drove the invading army back to the capital city, where they remained beseiged until they withdrew. The mission, the invasion, the occupation, emboldened the fanatics, allowed them to recruit huge numbers, and assisted by foreign fighters hostile to the invading army drove them from the area. In doing so, they set an example for fanatics, separatists and nationalists around the world and a globe-spanning empire declined and fell.

On March 20, 2003 it was my fears and not my prayers that were answered. This time the Great Power was the United States and not Great Britain. The Weapons of War were chemical and biological weapons, perhaps a naiscent