“What we meant in going for those red-coats, was this: we had always governed ourselves and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should."

-- A member of the Danver's Militia to John Adams after Lexington and Concord
 
 
American Minute with Bill Federer 

Paul Revere was captured along the way, but William Dawes and Samuel Prescott continued the midnight ride from Boston's Old North Church to warn the inhabitants of Concord that British troops were coming to seize their guns. 

In early dawn, APRIL 19, 1775, American "Minutemen," as poet Emerson wrote, fired the "shot heard round the world" by confronting the British on Lexington Green and at Concord's Old North Bridge. 

The conflict began that in eight years would end in independence. 

New England celebrates this as "Patriots' Day." 

Also on APRIL 19, in the year 1951, Five-Star General Douglas MacArthur retired from 48 years of patriotic service. 

One of the most decorated soldiers in U.S. history, MacArthur served in France in WWI, was Superintendent of West Point and the youngest Army Chief of Staff. 

General Douglas MacArthur was Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific in WWII and received Japan's surrender. 

He commanded UN forces against North Korea, but was dismissed by President Truman for not fighting a limited war. 

Douglas MacArthur said: 

"Like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who has tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."
 
 
"Objects of the most stupendous magnitude and measure, in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations."

-- John Adams, letter to William Cushing, 1776

 
 
"We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions – The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."

-- George Washington, 1776

 
 
intervarsity.org

At the close of the Revolutionary War in 1783, George Washington wrote to the thirteen governors to disband the army and send his troops home. He included a prayer that God would “dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy” and love one another. This foundational prayer by our nation’s first leader for his soldiers and his people is worth remembering as we honor their costly sacrifices for the independence of our country.

Here is the full version of his letter to the Governors requesting that his troops be sent home:

Circular Letter Addressed to the Governors of all the States on the Disbanding of the Army, June 14, 1783

"I have thus freely declared what I wished to make known, before I surrendered up my public trust to those who committed it to me. The task is now accomplished. I now bid adieu to your Excellency, as the chief magistrate of your State, at the same time I bid a last farewell to the cares of office and all the employments of public life.

It remains, then, to be my final and only request that your Excellency will communicate these sentiments to your legislature at their next meeting, and that they may be considered the legacy of one, who has ardently wished, on all occasions, to be useful to his country, and who, even in the shade of retirement, will not fail to implore the divine benediction on it.

I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for brethren who have served in the field; and finally that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation."

-- General George Washington

 
 
_"If our country, when pressed with wrongs at the point of the bayonet, had been governed by its heads instead of its hearts, where should we have been now? Hanging on a gallows as high as Haman's."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Maria Cosway, 1786