1999—The Permanent Contagion:
Family History
Living since 1973 in the vicinity of the Lexington-Concord fracas, I developed a hobby of showing visitors around the historic sites, telling their stories, smashing as many distortions as possible (including those peddled by Longfellow), and trying to understand, in a diffuse way, what motivated our heroic forebears and their dastardly opponents. Why, in particular, I long wondered, did seventy-seven (plus or minus a handful) ordinary village men line up on their town common and face down the world’s scariest army? The question only became more intriguing as I learned that many—probably most—of them thought it was a terrible idea. And that eight of them laid down their lives in that first, confused encounter.
I would line groups up in the footsteps of those heroes, and I would confess that I didn’t understand their actions. And I would ask if any visitor had a more satisfactory explanation than I’d yet encountered. None had: nearly thirty years and unnumbered tour groups passed without notable further enlightenment. Never accepted a dime for my tour-guiding services, feeling well-compensated by the privilege of frequent immersion in the memories of those sacred precincts.
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Updated Jul 2020 [1999p23.htm] Page 499-25