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Arlington gains a seat on state Commission on American Revolution 

Senate expands body to celebrate 250 years of American independence in 2025

UPDATED: In the months leading up to April 1775, Colonists stepped up preparations for a possible armed revolt against British authorities in North America. The British were especially on edge in Massachusetts, in many respects the seat of rebellious fervor. 

Revolution 250 logo

On April 18, at around 11 p.m., 700 Red Coats set out from Boston. They landed in the Lechmere area of Cambridge and made their way in darkness through the city. Their ultimate destination was a store of arms rumored to be buried on the farm of James Barrett in Concord. Colonists feared that, along the way, the British would arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams, lodging that night in Lexington. 

By 1 a.m. on April 19, thanks to hard riding by Paul Revere and others, word was spreading to nearby towns. About 5 a.m., on Lexington Green, combatants on both sides heard a shot fired, and the American Revolution began. 

With these events, and others, in mind, the state Senate has approved an amendment to pending legislation creating a special commission to look ahead to the 250 anniversary of the American Revolution, an occasion expected to draw people from around the U.S. and the world. Members of the commission are charged with planning events to honor the anniversary. 

'Each town needs voice'

The Senate provision, written by Senator Mike Barrett, preserves the original commission but amends its enabling legislation, which had guaranteed a spot on the body for a representative of the City of Boston but not for a representative of Cambridge, Arlington (then called Menotomy), Lexington, Lincoln or Concord, the five communities along the Red Coat line of march that day. 

“The Battle of Lexington and Concord reverberated through the Colonies and around the world,” Barrett said in a May 27 news release; “250 years on, in 2025, the six communities that endured that show of force on April 19 can expect a flood of visitors. Coordination will be challenging. The Senate amendment recognizes that each of the towns needs a voice in the Massachusetts planning process.”  

Barrett said he and his colleagues in the Legislature look forward to lending support to Revolution 250, the umbrella group of more than 70 statewide organizations that will guide celebrations and events in Massachusetts. “Members of Revolution 250 are already hard at work,” Barrett said. “They need this commission language enacted into law, and soon, so they can ramp activity up to the next level.” 

Friedman: Arlington needed

Senator Cindy Friedman pointed out that, to be true to the facts of the start of the Revolution in 1775, and to the challenge of hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors in 2025, the commission needs representation from Arlington and the other communities affected directly by the events of April 19. 

“Arlington is a site that was pivotal to the birth of our nation,” said Friedman. “Including a representative from Arlington in the planning for the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution is important to uphold the factual integrity of the upcoming occasion. I thank my counterpart from Lexington, Senator Barrett, for his work securing this amendment.” 

In the afternoon of the historic day, in the course of the Red Coats’ retreat back to Boston, Minute Men from multiple towns engaged with the enemy at a crook in the road in the town of Lincoln, in a fatality-laden encounter that came to be known as the Battle of Bloody Angle.

Later in the afternoon, still on their way back toward Boston and safety, the British used guns and bayonets in furious battles with the Minute Men along the line of retreat in Menotomy, or what has been named Arlington since 1867. The combat was mortal on both sides. 25 Colonists died, half the total American fatalities for the day, and an estimated 40 Britons, more than half of their total dead.

Read "The Battle of Menotomy" from the Arlington Historical Society.

The Senate budget, which includes Barrett’s amendment, must now be reconciled with the budget passed by the House of Representatives. 


May 17, 2021: Town programs aided by fiscal '22 House budget


This news summary was published Saturday, May 29, 2021, and updated, to add link to "Battle of Menotomy."

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