“The Shot Heard Round The World”

Minute Man National Park, Concord, MA

In taking this photo I was affected by how this farmer/soldier, the Minute Man, took a stand not only for himself and his countrymen, but also for something larger, representing justice to every person. They are related to the Spartans, who in 480 B.C. defended the Greek City-States against the Persians at Thermopylae. I wanted to show something that honored an important event—its universal meaning, with a feeling of turmoil and calm—something that is still ongoing.

I post this in honor of Memorial Day and the men and women who have fought for our country. In 1836, poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his poem, “Concord Hymn” and made these lines immortal: “The shot heard round the world.” They are inscribed on the Minute Man Memorial, in Concord, MA. The memorial was created by Daniel Chester French in honor of the first battles of the American Revolution, Lexington and Concord, 1775.

Our debt to them is great and, in my opinion, can only be deserved by sustaining the meaning of what they fought for. The justice and ethics that was won is something we are still looking to complete. I believe this hope is represented with beautiful music in the poem by Eli Siegel, “The First Amendment and the Red, White and Blue”. His comment on it explains why the “First Amendment” is so important.

Author’s note. “The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is a beautiful attempt of a country to establish freedom for the people living in it. We don’t know what freedom is, but the First Amendment has freedom for its legal music; has freedom as lasting substance.

Man is Being, Response, Expression, and if he doesn’t have the third of these truly, the other two have to suffer, have to become less. The First Amendment says that men may be wrong, that men who govern, legislate, preside over courts may be wrong, and if so, other men may say so in a way that makes the perhaps wrong representatives of a nation become attentive, thoughtful, and, it may be, even, different.

It is fitting that the Amendment which has in it the right to criticize those who govern be given a lilt, a dash, a musical quality like that to be found in a judicious children’s game. And if you don’t love the First Amendment with impetuosity and permanence, you and love could be on better terms.”

The First Amendment and the Red, White and Blue
By Eli Siegel

From Hail, American Development (Definition Press) © 1968 by Eli Siegel

Hurray for the First Amendment,

It’s just wonderful.

I love the First Amendment,

I hold it to my heart.

It shows what a country can do,

At a beautiful time.

Three cheers for the First Amendment,

Three cheers for the Red, White and Blue.

For ’tis the First Amendment

That shows what the U.S. can do.

Anybody who doesn’t love the First Amendment,

Doesn’t love the Red, White and Blue.


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