Celebrating 241Years

O ye daughters and sons of liberty,
these stairs do creak
neath the weight of history’s tale.

Paul Revere didst wait that eve
to see the revolution’s wick,
waving light from Old North’s spire.

Two lanterns carried high
two horsemen urged on with alarm,
signals all to freedom’s dreams.

Gather ye now and every year,
honor patriots of battles past
and those who hero now.

Raising voices strong
in songs of country’s pride,
our enduring land of liberty.

A “folk poem” for dVerse. Written April 18, 2016, exactly 241 years after the occasion immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. The Lantern Ceremony has been held for the past 139 years at Boston’s Old North Church, an active Episcopal congregation to this day.  Paul Revere was a member and arranged for the sexton Robert Newman and vestryman, Captain John Pulling Jr., to climb the steeple stairs pictured here and signal with two lanterns, if the British were approaching by the Charles River. This sparked Paul Revere’s infamous ride to warn militia and ultimately, the first shots of the American Revolution. Also counting as NaPoWriMo Day 19.

Photos: my spouse climbing the steeple’s stairs at Old North. We are fortunate to be members of this historical church and attended the April 18, 2016 Lantern Ceremony: fife and drum corps, historical reenactment, recitation of Longfellow’s poem, a featured speaker, lighting of two lanterns at the altar. The lanterns are then processed through the church and carried up the steeple as they were that night. The ceremony concludes with the singing of America and America the Beautiful. I can truly say it is a magnificent evening — for me, more moving and inspirational than the 4th of July. And I love the 4th of July! If you’re ever in Boston on April 18th, I urge you to get tickets in advance and attend! Last photo is taken from Copps Hill after the ceremony last week.

Videos: Both from the 2015 ceremony — they are always similar except for the featured speaker and those honored to be the lantern bearers up the steeple.  The first is from outside the church.  The second (church is lit by candlelight and this is an amateur video so it is somewhat dark) shows the rousing conclusion of the ceremony — with just the first verse of America — all verses are sung.




29 thoughts on “Celebrating 241Years

  1. Ron DuBour April 19, 2016 / 11:08 am

    really great write on Paul Revere, I also have done one with my American Heroes series, will post this Friday! think you will enjoy it, thanks Ron

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 19, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    Oh I love the true story of it, the language making it so vivid, as something sung in days of old… love it (though I was not aware of that story)….

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 19, 2016 / 2:57 pm

      Very old and treasured piece of American history. So glad you liked it and it came alive for you! 🙂


  3. Stacie Lin April 19, 2016 / 4:48 pm

    this is a wonderful ode to Paul Revere. I enjoyed your accompanying video as well.

    also really loved the old-timey feel of the language you used.

    thanks so much for writing with my prompt today!


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 20, 2016 / 9:01 am

      Thanks, Stacy. I enjoyed perusing your website — and loved the prompt. It’s a real pleasure to receive a compliment from you…so very glad you enjoyed. And thanks again for guest hosting the bar 🙂


  4. Victoria C. Slotto April 19, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    You took us right into the heart of our country’s history. Loved the poem and the photos. Now I’ll listen to the choir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 20, 2016 / 9:05 am

      Boston is an amazing place to live — right in the “heart of our country’s history,” as you say. We are members of Old North Church and it is truly incredible to sit in these box pews every Sunday. Part of the service every Sunday (it is an Episcopal church) is to sing the Doxology immediately followed by the last verse of America (what I call “My Country Tis of Thee”). The organist is fantastic (historical organ) and the church just booms out and your heart swells! Same as the feeling you got listening to the video. The church and its grounds are part of the National Park System — and in addition to the church itself, there is an Old North Foundation which deals with the “secular” things of Old North. Truly an amazing place. Many tourists visit — the church of Paul Revere. We walk there from where we live. We always have a lot of tourists at the 11:00 Sunday service.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Victoria C. Slotto April 20, 2016 / 12:08 pm

        I’ve driven through but never visited Boston–there is a story behind that I will share some day…have an appt. now.


  5. Grace April 19, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    Love the honor and remembrance about your country Lillian ~

    Specially love these lines:

    Gather ye now and every year,
    honor patriots of battles past
    and those who hero now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 20, 2016 / 9:07 am

      Truth be told, we’ve lived in Boston close to 20 years — and this was the first time we went to the Lantern Ceremony. I’d always equated Patriots Day (Monday) as a state holiday with an excuse to give everyone the day off for the Boston Marathon. In truth, there is this celebration on the eve of Patriots Day every year — as well as a reenactment of the battle in Lexington — and other historical reenacments across the state on Patriots Day. We’ll never miss another Lantern Ceremony! 🙂


  6. Bodhirose April 19, 2016 / 9:21 pm

    I too got the chills watching and listening to your videos, Lillian…quite moving. How cool that your church reenacts the lighting of the lanterns and ride of Paul Revere each year. This was always a favorite story of mine as a kid…it seemed so dramatic, which it was! Love your poem/tribute too. And let me welcome you again as a team member…so very fortunate to have your talent added to ours.
    Gayle ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 20, 2016 / 9:09 am

      Thank you Gayle, for all your kind words here. My honor to become a member of the dVerse team! 🙂 So grateful to Bjorn for introducing me to dVerse last December! Glad you enjoyed the poem and videos. It truly is a special evening!


  7. Waltermarks April 19, 2016 / 9:53 pm

    That’s cool and inspiring to live around the corner from such an historic landmark It is so patriotic

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 20, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Yes! We walk to Old North every Sunday and it is so amazing to sit in these box pews and know the history of this place. We also walk to the Hatch Shell and the Esplanade along the Charles for every 4th of July. Many a 4th of July we were standing with the die-hards on the night of the 3rd, camped out overnight to insure we got a place in the front of the crowd for the Boston Pops 4th of July concert! 🙂 There will be a picture of me at such a concert coming up in another post. Alas, we now walk over on the day of the 4th and sit along the river, near where the fireworks are, and listen to the concert “piped” through the area on loud speakers. There’s no place like Boston on the 4th of July and on the Eve of Patriots Day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Misky April 21, 2016 / 7:07 am

    Makes me want to ride a horse and carry a lantern!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 21, 2016 / 7:28 am

      Now that’s a great reply! 🙂


  9. Bryan Ens April 22, 2016 / 8:35 am

    The party about stairs creaking beneath the weight of history is amazing…especially in light of the explanation you give of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 23, 2016 / 9:21 am

      Thank you Bryan. We went to the Lantern Ceremony this year and it was awe inspiring. Living in Boston is living in history!


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