2000—Patriots’ Day
MartyrsEpitaphw Lexington Green has always moved and fascinated me as an American, even through the decades in which I told visitors its story without awareness of my blood kinship to its honored participants.

Once I knew that Ensign (emeritus) Robert Munroe, the only officer who died here that day, was my own cousin,1 I formed the habit of stopping at the Martyrs’s Monument, at least a couple of times a week, removing my bike helmet, and thanking aloud by name each man inscribed here: “Thank you, Robert. Thank you, Jonas. Thank you, Samuel…” Not forgetting Asahel, whom they took home to Woburn afterward, and who, like Robert, was there only because he had asked Captain Parker for the privilege.
1Specifically, as a grandson of William and Martha Munroe, Robert was my half first cousin, eight times removed.
There’s still an empty gravesite next to the resting place of Anne Stone Munroe in the old Lexington Burial Ground. She died just four months and a day after her husband, and whoever wrote the text on her stone expressed strong partisan feelings, nearly a year before we formally declared independence:
Remember death

Here lies Interrd ye
Body of Mrs Anna
Munro widow of Mr
Robert Munro (who
was slain by the Enemy
on the 19th of April 1775
who departed this
Life Augt 20th 1775 In
ye 57th year of her age.
Robert and Anne used to lie at each other’s side, in proper connubial fashion. Thirty-some years later, though, they moved Robert a couple hundred yards, to the grave on the Green that he shares with his fellow martyrs.
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