Saturday, March 4, 2017

Paul Revere, The Boston Massacre, and Snowmen in the Sun

"Unhappy Boston!  See they sons deplore
Thy hallow'd walks besmear'd with guiltless gore." -Paul Revere

It was a gorgeous day and so we loaded up Princess Sparkleface and headed up Hwy 26 toward Mt. Hood's Government Camp to make a snowman under a deep blue sky.
"While faithless P___ n and his savage bands
With murd'rous rancour stretch their bloody hands..."  -Paul Revere

Warm ski gloves and stocking caps, thick rubber boots and a thermos full of hot chocolate, we stopped outside of Zig Zag along the river to pick up stones for the eyes and sticks for arms and hair.
"Like fierce barbarians grinning o'er their prey
Approve the carnage and enjoy the day."  -Paul Revere

We've started our second unit: The American Revolution.  It was a time full of horrible atrocities and random acts of violence.  Men in the street carrying sticks and clubs.  Vigilante justice.  Imagine the horror of being tarred and feathered.
"If scalding drops from rage, from anguish wrung
If speechless sorrow, lab'ring for a tongue
Or if a weeping world can ought apease
The plaintive ghosts of victims such as these..."  -Paul Revere

On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers standing their ground in front of an angry mob of colonials throwing oyster shells and balls of ice, daring them to fire... did just that, killing five men. Forever known after as The Boston Massacre, it was the starting point of the revolution.  
"The patriot's copious tears for each are shed
A glorious tribute which embalms the dead."  -Paul Revere

Of course, this conflict had been brewing for years.  Since 1764 with The Sugar Act and The Currency Act and followed up in subsequent years with The Stamp Act and The Townshend Revenue Act, any good person can only be pushed so far.  There's a fragility to every human.  A snowman standing in the sun can only stand for so long before they sink back into the ground.
"But know, fate summons to that awful goal
Where justice strips the murd'rer of his soul..." -Paul Revere

To commemorate this day, Paul Revere, a Boston silversmith, engraved and titled his "Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street in Boston" just three weeks after.  It is regarded by historians as one of the most important pieces of propaganda in American history, building a momentum toward revolution and independence from Britain.  
"Should venal C____ ts, the scandal of the land
Snatch the relentless villain from her hand..."  -Paul Revere

So... we were reading about The Boston Massacre and the trial of manslaughter and how future president John Adams defended and ultimately obtained a 'not guilty' verdict for the British soldiers ... and I was looking at my daughter's faces.  
"Keep execrations on this plate inscrib'd
Shall reach a judge who never can be brib'd." -Paul Revere

So often the history we study is just so messy.  The bloodshed.  The ruthless politics.  Yet, what was it all for, if not to fight for the freedom of days like this?  How precious are these days.  How thankful I am to have them.  
Sometimes you have to just close the textbook and go outside to make a snowman in the sun.  It's only for the day, but it's the most valuable thing of all.  
-Transcript of poem from Paul Revere's print:  The Bloody Massacre

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