On this day, in 1775, someone fired a shot on Lexington Green and a nation was born.
Up until this point, a long ten years legal battle over the representative status of a colony left a country divided by more than just an ocean. King George's decision to crack down hard on the city of Boston only made matters worse, but it was General Gage's orders to seize the supplies in Concord's armory that proved the touch point.
It can't be considered a glorious battle: the militia gathered on the green were likely as surprised as the British regulars when the gun went off. After 18 minutemen went down and the rest scattered, the British high-tailed it for Concord and the armory. To say that they were in for a long, exhausting day would be an understatement. Fury torched the countryside and locals drove them out of Concord and back to where they came. The retreat was long and fraught with danger for both sides: the colonists followed and harassed the British from the sidelines, while the regulars looted and torched the homes that they passed. By the time the British were safely bottled up in the city, the tide had turned and a bridge had been crossed: our Rubicon was a wooden bridge in Concord, MA.
On April 19th, 1775, everything changed. From the awkward, furious deeds of the morning would come legends. From this day, when vastly outnumbered ordinary men and boys took up their arms to protest tyranny, the course of the world and our place in it, changed.
July 4th may be the official birth date of the United States. But the first sign of new life in the womb was April 19th.