Tucked away in a quiet corner of Arlington National Cemetery is a small plaque dedicated to the first Americans to die in defense of our nation. That small plaque, near the old chapel, lists eight men: John Brown, Samuel Hadley, Caleb Harrington, Jonathon Harrington, Robert Munroe, Isaac Muzzey, Jonas Parker, and Asahel Porter.
These men gathered with their friends and neighbors to stand on the Lexington Green in the chill of a New England Spring morning to defend their homes and families from an increasingly more tyrannical British occupation. Warned earlier by Paul Revere and other riders, the militia assembled on April 19th, 1775, in the center of their town to stand and say ‘No more,’ to British rule. No one knows who fired the first shot, but one of the American Militia fell to “the shot heard round the world.” That morning, eight brave men were the first to fall – defending our beloved country.
John Brown, Samuel Hadley, Caleb Harrington, Jonathon Harrington, Robert Munroe, Isaac Muzzey, Jonas Parker, and Asahel Porter should be forever remembered as the American patriots who were first to stand on the front line, defending the American dream. These men changed the course of history. Yet, their plaque is hidden away, near Section 1, never visited by tourists, never mentioned on the Cemetery tour and forgotten by history.
This Memorial Day, take a moment to tell your children about the brave men who stood shoulder-to-shoulder to defend their homes and ended up stoking the fire that forged a new nation. We all owe a debt of gratitude to these men for their ultimate sacrifice.
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