Those poor farmers who came up, that day, to defend their native soil, acted from the simplest of instincts. They did not know it was a deed of fame they were doing. These men did not babble of glory. They never dreamed their children would contend who had done the most. They supposed they had a right to their corn and their cattle, without paying tribute to any but their governors. And as they had no fear of man, they yet did have a fear of God.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, September 12, 1835, on the occasion of the second centennial anniversary of the town of Concord. "Historical Discourse at Concord," Miscellanies (1883, repr. 1903).
Emerson here sings tribute to the veterans of Lexington and Concord.