Yesterday, my sister Abby and I went to Concord (Massachusetts) for the annual Meriam’s Corner exercises. If you didn’t grow up in Concord as we did, you probably don’t know that Meriam’s Corner was where the colonial militia and minutemen engaged with the Redcoats on the afternoon of April 19, 1775, as His Majesty’s troops started on their way back to Boston. Every year there’s a ceremony commemorating the engagement the week before its anniversary.
We thought we were on time, but the fifes and drums were already playing when we pulled up. A park ranger showed us where to park on the grass, and we hurried over.
Abby’s husband, Jim, is a direct descendant of the Meriams who owned Meriam’s Corner. Jim was at work, but Abby tried to see if any of his family were with the Meriam contingent who were participating in the ceremony. She couldn’t see anyone.
Just in front of us, a man was trying to control a little boy and a big dog. The man had to keep shushing the dog, even holding her muzzle shut so she wouldn’t bark. The dog started barking when the little boy toddled past the rope that kept people out of the area where the Concord Minutemen were going to fire their muskets. The man turned to shush the dog, but then he saw why the dog was barking and grabbed the boy. The boy’s older sister was obviously a veteran of this event: she covered up her ears just before the Minutemen started to load their muskets. The dog saw the girl cover her ears, started to bark, the man grabbed the dog’s muzzle, she twisted away, was about to bark when —
– the muskets went off. Astonished at the noise, the dog didn’t bark thereafter.
It takes forever to reload an 18th C. musket.
Only a three-gun salute. Some dignitaries put a wreath at the commemorative plaque. Things were pretty much over. Abby and I walked over to get a closer look at the Meriam contingent, but there wasn’t anyone she knew. We waited until the Middlesex County Volunteers started off; their music is exceptionally good, and they always put on a good show to boot. By then it was time to head off to the Paul Revere capture site, to see the ceremony there — but that would be another story.