Since I grew up near Boston, Massachusetts, I can never think about the week of April 19th without pausing to reflect on its meaning for our country. It was the day in 1775 when the first battles took place at the onset of the American Revolution.
As children, we all loved Patriot's Day. Parades were held in the city and the suburbs commemorating the event. A rider dressed like Paul Revere would carry the news that "The Regulars are coming!" Of course, we weren't too concerned in the 20th century about British soldiers coming down Mass Ave. If they did, we'd have likely cheered them on instead of fleeing. :)
But it was both a celebration and a memorial to the brave men—simple farmers—who made a stand against the greatest army in the world of that time. The outcome shocked the world and birthed the great country of the United States of America.
When I was young, it didn't occur to me that the very road down which the bands played and the floats sailed upon, was the very route that the British Army actually trod. It was a journey that began an eight year war.
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Beginning in Boston the night of April 18, 1775, over 1,000 British soldiers marched their way to Concord where supplies of Colonial gunpowder were hidden. On the way, they were confronted by the brave men of Lexington. The first shots were fired and the first fatalities occurred.
|Buckman Tavern, Gathering Place of the Lexington Militia|
|Jason Russell House, Arlington, MA|
More deaths occurred at this site than any other battlefield that day, April 19, 1775.
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When I was a child celebrating Patriot's Day every year, I never knew that the house on the corner just one block away from my home, held the story of the worst battle that occurred that first day of the Revolution.
I often thought about that house after I grew up and decided to discover the secrets that lay within its walls. The story that I uncovered was an amazing and heartbreaking tale of love, loyalty and demise. It was an incident hidden from the history books, just waiting to be revealed. I decided to be the storyteller of the Russell family and the community that took a stand for freedom from tyranny.
And thus was birthed Fields of the Fatherless, Winner of the the 2014 Selah Award for YA Fiction; Winner of the 2014 Next Generation Book Award, Religious Fiction; and Winner of the 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Award, Best YA Religious Fiction.
To celebrate Patriot's Day, I am giving away two gifts—a signed copy of Fields of the Fatherless and a box of eight cards of the Doolittle prints that depict the battles of April 19, 1775—to a reader who leaves a comment on this blog. I will do a drawing for those who leave their email address and announce the winner on Friday, April 22.