The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too they would never forget.”
– David McCullough

Revolutionary War battlefields aren’t really preserved, not like Civil War battlefields, any way. I’ve looked for them whenever I go back East. There are plaques and monuments, statues and fountains, a few open-space parks, but the actual battlefields are hard to find. There are probably lots of reasons for this:

  • It was a long time ago and a lot of malls have been built since then.
  • There weren’t as many people who actually witnessed the battles as, well, spectators – or photographers.
  • There wasn’t a government yet thinking about such things.
  • And when there was a government, they had a lot more important things to think about. Like, “Oh, God, we won, NOW what do we do?”


Maybe those battles are just part of our National DNA,, we all know where Concord and Lexington are, don’t we? Well, maybe not. Erstwhile Prez candidate Michelle Bachman said in a speech in 2011 that the Shot Heard ‘Round the World was in Concord, New Hampshire. It wasn’t. THAT Concord is in Massachusetts. But, hey, there’s a Concord in Georgia, one in Indiana, even one in Ontario. It’s so easy to get confused.

There is a small but passionate group of Americans dedicated to keeping the torch alive about those battlefields. Touring Vermont a few years ago, we took a side trip to Fort Ticonderoga. It may be one of the few Revolutionary War sites that is well preserved and adamant about preserving its unique history. I highly recommend it, especially since that area’s contributions to both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars are not generally known by We the People.

Did you know there were actually several ‘revolutions’ aka riots – no less than 40 or 50 of them before 1776? We all know about the Big One, but how about the one in 1786? Or…1676 (Bacon’s Rebellion)?

All of them were classrooms, and colonists learned a lot about themselves, about their friends, about their enemies. The Revolution wasn’t started on a whim, folks in the colonies had been talking about it – and dying for it – for a long time, it was almost a generational thing, beginning more than a century before they actually did The Big One.

We gives lots of thanks to our Forefathers, the ones who signed the Declaration of Independence, but maybe we should show some gratitude to our Forefathers’ fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers who really came up with the idea in the first place.