Saturday, 2:15 PM
By David Abel, Globe Staff
LEXINGTON -- It was a cold and foggy morning when the bell sounded.
(Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)
Out of the mist, the militiamen began to assemble in a row with their muskets. Within a few minutes appeared their enemies, the wig-wearing redcoats of His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot, their bayonet-tipped Brown Bess Flintlocks at the ready.
When the mysterious first shot rang out around dawn this morning, it was just like that fateful day 234 years ago on the Lexington Green -- except the gray-haired men squaring off looked a lot older than their ancestral combatants. There was a lot of fake groaning and no blood, however, and sleep-deprived neighbors, history buffs, and members of what have become known as the media were there with cameras to chronicle every drumbeat.
The annual reenactment of the Battle of Lexington has spawned its own traditions and veterans, with their own ahistorical gripes.
“A lot of us put considerable money and effort into this, and everybody still forgets about what the meaning of Patriots’ Day is all about,” said Tom Balcom, 47, of Melrose, whose bearskin hat and other redcoat paraphernalia cost him more than $1,200 and countless hours of training. “They think they get the day off because of the marathon. Well, it’s a lot more than a bunch of people lining up for a run. This is a big deal.”