Lighting Freedom's Flame
By Sean Kelleher, 225th Coordinator
Self governance – freedom. What an idea. This seems very normal to all of us today. But in the 18th Century – the Age of Enlightment – this was a new concept. To form a country not based on a feudal system but based on a belief system. The belief in freedom and self-determination. This is a radical change in the world history. This is our heritage, this is our legacy, and to be perfectly honest, I believe it is what makes us great as a people.
This light of freedom which was light by the political theory and actions of these farmers and laborers in the colonies in the later part of the 18th Century still is alive today. As living historians – or reinactors, we share a hobby that is great fun – we as the participants have a wonderful time... but there is more to this hobby than that. I would say that we play an important role in informal education about our country's heritage. Today, many in my generation and younger have no experience with war – other than watching CNN and playing Nitendo. We do not know the sacrifices made by common men fighting to keep this ideal of freedom alive. But though living history events – we can keep our heritage alive. We can remind people about the sacrifices made to light Freedom's Flame.
Recently, many of us celebrated 225th Commeration of Lexington and Concord. This is the first time these events have been recreated in their historic order. It was a wonderful time. We put this on with a volunteer corp of 1400 living historians. These folks had risen to the challenge of putting together the clothing and accoutrements of a Minuteman or a British Redcoat. To me, this event provides us, the living historians with an opportunity to build something special for ourselves, our community, our nation and our children. April 19th is an icon in American History and we had school children and scouts from around the country coming to watch us make history come alive. This is important stuff. As reenactors we spend many weekends sharing our love for history with others; but here is an opportunity for us to share our love for history and the sacrifices that these common men made with a crowd of 150,000 to 200,000 on the ground that it actually happen. This event is important to many of us: And most of all it is important for those school children and scouts who will walk away from this event with a little glimmer of what history was like and the sacrifices made by our forefathers. We worked on personalizing history, the living historians took the time to answer the questions of the children or adult and pose for photos. We wanted people to leave with a feeling and a connection with their history. It does not matter what ethnic group you are, if you are new to the country or came over on the mayflower. This is all our heritage – this is a remembrance and celebration of those sacrifices that were made to light freedom's flame.
Now, I have one request of you. We have some special days coming up. I ask that you light a lantern or a candle and put it in the window of your house. Reflect on the actions of these common men, 225 years ago. The sacrifices and risks they took to help secure our freedom. There actions help brighten Freedom's Flame. We all need to remember their actions - We as need to embrace these special days, honor them, and share them with others. That is what living history is about. This is our common Legacy, this is America, this is the light of freedom!
During this year some special dates to light lanterns include:
6/17/1775 Bunker Hill (Breed's Hill), MA
9/25/1775 Montreal, QU
10/18/1775 Chambly, QU
12/31/1775 Quebec, QU
Copyright © 2000 Sean Kelleher. All rights reserved.