This is the 240th anniversary of Paul Revere’s Ride. Longfellow’s poem starts like this:
Listen, my children, and you shall hearOf the midnight ride of Paul Revere,On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;Hardly a man is now aliveWho remembers that famous day and year.
It was written in 1861, on the eve of the Civil War, so personal memory of the Revolution had just about died out. The poem itself is pretty bad, but Longfellow did succeed in his aim of creating a national myth. No one was building statues of Revere before Longfellow’s poem.
(“2010 NorthEnd Boston 4621037522” by Richard Wood from Tacoma, Washington, USA – Boston 2010-05-02-15. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
While I have your attention, let me recommend David Hackett Fisher’s book Paul Revere’s Ride, which is just fabulous.