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The Midnight Ride

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2021 6:00 am

The Midnight Ride

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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July 2, 2021 6:00 am

John Avery Whitaker shares the story of Paul Revere, his famous ride, and the "shot heard 'round the world."

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Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb

As we approach the Fourth of July this weekend, we've got a really fun and unique Focus on Family broadcast for you today.

With your host, Focus President Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, I think it's really important to remember that the Fourth of July Holiday, or Independence Day, is about more than barbecues and outdoor fun. We're commemorating the birth of our nation and the men and women who risked their very lives to separate from England and set up a government that allowed for religious freedom among other privileges that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Our independence was bought with a price. So today, we've decided to feature an episode of our Adventures in Odyssey program which will capture the essence of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of Paul Revere. And if you're not familiar with Odyssey, you're truly missing out. It's an amazingly well-crafted radio drama for children of all ages. And I have to admit, I actually miss listening to Odyssey now that our boys are a little older and moving into college.

We used to listen almost every night. Our family always enjoyed Odyssey for road trips, Jim. We took a lot of trips and those miles would fly by as we got distracted by the stories. Except you, the driver, right? Of course, I did not get distracted, but we did have six kids and lots of road trips.

That's a lot of noise. I do have a lot of Odyssey episodes memorized. As we get started, let me mention this program is included in a set of 12 patriotic-themed Odyssey episodes that we're offering when you make a pledge of any amount or a one-time donation of any amount today.

Just ask for the God and Country CD collection when you call 800, the letter A in the word family, or donate and request your CD when you're at the website. The link is in the episode notes. All right, gather around and enjoy this episode of Adventures in Odyssey.

It's called The Midnight Ride on today's Focus on the Family. Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. Hi, Marsha, what you got there?

Oh, hi, Mr. Whitaker. It's a book of poems. Paul Revere's Ride and Other Selected Verses. Ah, Little Longfellow, eh? Yeah, I really like Paul Revere's Ride. Oh, it's a great poem, one of the epics of American literature. Too bad it's not very accurate. Huh? Well, for the most part, the poem is okay, but there are a couple of big mistakes, and there's a whole lot more to the story than what Longfellow describes. And to Paul Revere's life, for that matter. Really?

Sure. Revere's best known for his midnight ride, but he did lots of other things to help the revolution. Did you know he was part of the Boston Tea Party? He was?

Yep. Boston Harbor, 1773. Revere, John Hancock, Sam Adams, and other patriots had been upset for months about taxation without representation.

And those three ships filled with tea sitting in the harbor were like burrs under their saddles. So on a cold December night, they decided to do something about it. Get ready, boys. We're almost there. Paul, do you think I've got enough red paint on? Don't worry, Charlie.

You look as Indian as they come. Now remember, we're just after the tea. Nothing else is to be disturbed.

Got it? Yeah, yeah, yeah. The deck looks clear, Paul. All right, boys. Up the sides with you. Let's strike a blow for freedom.

Over the sides with it. Let's turn Boston Harbor into one giant teapot. They worked throughout the night, tossing box after box of tea into the icy water as hundreds of people watched silently from the shore. Silently?

Yep. No one said a word. Even though the patriots made noise, they were well behaved. They knew exactly what they were after, and that's what they got. In fact, when they finished, you know what they did?

What? All right, boys. In line. Brooms ready? Clean up the deck. They swept the ships? That's right. Cleaned them spick and span. Then they filed onto their boats and rode back to the harbor.

Unbelievable. They made their point. The colonists weren't going to stand for abuse from England any longer. What happened to Paul Revere? He went immediately to New York and Philadelphia to spread the news of this bold act of Boston patriots.

After all that work? Uh-huh. That's another thing about Paul Revere. We tend to think he took only one ride, but the truth is he took several.

What about the most famous ride? That happened in and around Boston almost two years later in 1775. One of the patriots' favorite gathering places was the Green Dragon Tavern, and it was there on a warm afternoon in April that Paul Revere met with Dr. Joseph Warren, a man who had written some scathing pamphlets against the British. Paul Revere Revere!

Revere! Warren, have you gone mad appearing in public this way? You know what the British will do to you.

Ah, I wish they would try to arrest me. I say let the revolution begin instead of both sides pussyfooting around as we've been doing. War will come soon enough without us urging it on. You're more right than you are here.

That's why I wanted to see you. What's happened? Informants have brought word all day that British troops are marshaling, preparing for a march. A march to where? Oh, we don't know, but it's likely they know about the arms stored at Concord and are planning to capture them. And John Hancock and Sam Adams in Lexington along the way, no doubt. If Concord is the objective, the immediate concerns are when the British plan to invade and how they'll get there, by land or across the Charles River.

If it's across the river, the people on the shore at Charlestown will have very little warning. Yes, we need some sort of signal. Lanterns. Lanterns? Yes, hanging in the tower of Christ Church. One if the Brits march by land and two if they come by sea.

Hold it! According to the poem, the lanterns were hung in the North Church, not Christ Church. That was Longfellow's first mistake. See, the old North Church couldn't have been used.

Its spire is too stumpy, and Copse Hill lies between it and the shore. The lights would have never been seen in Charlestown. Well, I'm glad he got the one if by land, two if by sea part right. That he did, and Dr. Warren liked it too. An excellent plan, but I'm afraid it means you're going to have to take another journey, my friend. Let me guess, across the river? Inform Colonel Conant of the signal, then ride on to Concord and tell them to hide the supply of armaments. War could come any day. We must be ready. I'll leave it once. Return as fast as you can, Revere, and do be careful. I shall, my friend.

I shall. So Paul Revere actually rode to Lexington and Concord before he rode to Lexington and Concord. Right. That's why he knew the route so well. But he got back to Boston in plenty of time for the fireworks that followed. How did the Patriots finally find out that Concord was the target?

Well, it was due to the alertness of a young stable boy at the Province House, a popular gathering place for British officers. Easy now. Oh, you're real beauties, aren't you?

Yes. Here's a nice pail of oats. Too bad you belong to those lobsterbacks. All right, my lovelies, stay quiet now. Let's see what they have for me today. There'll be the devil to pay by these Yankees, that's for certain. Indeed. If we can make sure no one gets through to warn them.

Boy. You don't think they'll actually fight back, do you? These accursed rebels taking up arms against His Majesty's troops?

Don't be silly. Where is that lazy, loud boy? When does the operation begin? Tonight, after dark.

Grenadiers, in late infantry under Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn, will cross the Charles at the Common and then march up to Lexington. Good-bye, Adams and Hancock, what? Quite, quite.

And then it's on to the arms they're hiding at Concord. Where is that boy? Listen, no wonder he didn't answer.

He's asleep. We're here, all right, you on your feet. Don't, don't hurt me, huh? Don't hurt me, sir.

What do you mean taking a kip when you should be working, boy? I'm sorry, sir. I was only going to lie down for a few minutes. I guess I fell asleep. Please don't tell my master.

He'll beat me. Sleeping, eh? You wouldn't have been listening to our conversation, would you? Listening?

With the way I snore? No, sir, but I've got your horses all ready for you. See?

Nice and brushed, saddles all polished, fine mounts for two of His Majesty's soldiers. You're loyal to His Majesty? Oh, yes, sir.

Long live King George. Well, see to it. Just stay that way.

And no more sleeping on the job, or we will inform your master. Right, sir. Oh, let me help you up. Thank you, sir.

Both of you. Thank you. Thank you.

And thank you for the information, too. I'm sure Dr. Warren will be very happy to hear it. They're crossing the river at the commons, Dr. Warren. When?

Tonight. Then they head straight for Concord. Time to test your signal, eh, Revere? Hmm. Did they say anything else, Newt? No, sir, except that they're going to try to stop any messengers from getting through. Ah, you've done a fine job, Newt.

Go to the kitchen and get something to eat. Yes, sir. Thank you, Dr. Warren. We must get word to Concord. I've already dispatched William Dawes by the Overland route. Overland? But that will add hours to his trip. I know, but your boat is still moored at the river, isn't it?

Well, yes, but why... Ah. You'll be right under the nose of the British. Again, but I'm ready. Who will light the lanterns?

A young friend of mine, Robert Newman. His brother's the church organist, so Robert has free access to the tower. Excellent. Now you must take great care crossing the river.

The Somerset is lying at anchor in the harbor, ready to blast anyone who should try to pass. Don't worry, Joseph. I learned my lesson a few months back at Castle Island. I'll be quiet. Paul, I want... No. No goodbyes, my friend. When will you leave?

Soon. I must stay and gather as much information as I can. I implore you once again not to risk yourself. The cause needs you.

The cause also needs information. Do not concern yourself over my peril, my friend. You face enough of your own. The British will not hesitate to shoot a man-caught exciting armed revolt. Yes.

Godspeed, Paul. You are a true son of liberty. Revere raced to Christchurch and sent Robert Newman up the tower. Two lanterns, Robert.

The British go by sea. Then hurried home to put on his riding boots and sirtu. Sirtu? What's that? A riding coat. Oh, like the one he wears in the paintings.

Right. And he hurriedly kissed his wife goodbye and left, meeting two friends, Thomas Richardson and Joshua Bentley outside. They made their way to the river. Revere was moving so fast he forgot to close the door, and his dog got out and followed him. And that wasn't the only thing he forgot. Pumperation.

What is it? Oh, I've forgotten my spurs, Thomas. How will I ride without my spurs? I believe we have a more immediate problem. And that is? We'll have to row right by the Somerset. The creaking of our oars will surely give us away. Blast!

That's another thing I forgot. I was going to bring a cloth to muffle them. Well, I don't know about the spurs, but I think I can help us with the cloth. Thomas, what are you doing?

My parents are downstairs. Necessary, love. We're about to take some cargo across the river, and we need a heavy cloth to keep our squeaky oars from giving us away.

What sort of cargo? Paul Revere. Revere? Why didn't you say so? Wait a minute. Come on, love.

We don't have much time. Here you go. And do be careful. Ah, thanks, darling.

We will. Your cloth, Revere? Your intended? I'm just a friend. This is a petticoat. Well, what do you know about that? We have the cloth, but what of the spurs? I have an idea.

Come here, boy. Wait a minute. You're not going to tell me Revere sent his dog back for the spurs.

Yep. He wrote a note, put it in the dog's collar, and sent him home. How accurate is that? Well, I don't know, but it is the story Revere told his own children, and apparently the dog performed beautifully, for Revere and his companion soon took off in the rowboat. If we'd only had petticoats while patrolling Castle Island, we might not have gotten arrested. Look, the signal light. Wait, it didn't stay on long. Just enough to warn the folks at Charlestown. Hold it. I thought the signal was to alert Revere, not the people.

Nope. But Longfellow even says it here in his poem. See right here, one if by land and two if by sea, an eye on the opposite shore will be, ready to ride and spread the alarm to every Middlesex village and farm. That's probably the biggest fallacy in the whole Paul Revere story. Anyway, the signal worked beautifully.

The people of Charlestown got the message loud and clear, but Revere and his companions did have a concern. You think the Somerset saw the signal? We're about to find out. Strike oars. We'll let Momentum carry us past the ship. Quiet, lads.

Hey, Rach. Did you see that? See what? That church over there.

Two lights just flicking on and off in the steep. Eh, probably some sort of signal to warn the rebels, eh? You think so? Maybe we should tell somebody. Oh, tell who?

And why? Not even these Yanks should be barmy enough to try anything against the king's army. Hey, barmy?

Army? I just made a rhyme, eh? Providence is smiling on us, gents.

Row, quickly. Revere, Colonel Conant. Did you get the signal? Yes, and your mount is ready.

Ah, fine Larkin horse. You need to know, Revere, that the British soldiers have been patrolling this road and the road to Cambridge all afternoon. What? If you think the ride is too treacherous, you needn't go.

No one will fault you for staying. Spread the word, Colonel. The British are on the move. God be with you, Paul Revere.

Up you patriots! Arise, you minutemen! The British are coming! The British are coming! So through the night rode Paul Revere, and through the night went his cry of alarm to every Middlesex village and farm, a cry of defiance and not of fear, a voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, and a word that shall echo forevermore. Revere made it through the British blockades to warn the whole countryside. Minutemen were awakened, bells began to peal, pots and pans began to clang, and dogs began to bark.

Finally, Revere arrived at the Clark House in Lexington. Adams! Hancock! Adams!

Hancock! Sir, sir, sir, please. Are you the keeper of this house? I am the sergeant at arms.

Are Adams and Hancock here? Yes, sir, but I must ask you to lower your voice. Lower my voice?

Yes, sir, please. The ladies and gentlemen within have gone to bed and do not wish to be disturbed by any noise this night. Noise? Noise?

You'll have enough noise before long. The regulars are out. Let me by. Hancock! Adams!

What in place is going on here? Hancock, Adams. Revere?

Yes, it's me. The regulars are out. The British are coming. Well, at last, it begins. You must both leave for safety at once.

Safety? Not while there's a breath left in my body. Bring me my sword. Hancock, we've been over this a thousand times. You cannot go into battle.

You're too valuable to us elsewhere. I shall go into battle and none shall say me nay. Where's my god in my boots?

Oh, my. Sergeant, bring food and drink for Revere while I try to talk some sense into Hancock. John?

That must have been some argument. Yes, but Revere only heard part of it. While he was eating, Billy Dawes arrived from the Overland route and the two of them, joined by a third writer, a Dr. Prescott, took off for Concord. So three writers were at Concord?

Well, not exactly. Three started out, but about halfway there, they were spotted by several British soldiers on horseback. The three tried to make a break for it. Prescott managed to get by and sped on to Concord.

Dawes' horse upended him and he scampered to safety in the thick woods. What about Revere? He was caught. Blast you, sir. Stop. Stop.

If you move an inch further, you're a dead man. Ah, what do you want of me? Keep your arse rained or I swear I shall shoot you. He is rain, but it's a wonder he's not scared out of his wits by your ambush of an honest man. Dismount, sir.

Now. I ask again. What do you want of me? Where did you come from, sir? From Boston.

Boston? What time did you leave there? Eleven o'clock.

Eleven? Sir, may I crave your name? Revere. What? Paul Revere? Correct. Oh, lovely.

We only got ourselves the most famous messenger in the colonies here. You're going to miss your mark, you know. What? Your mark.

You're going to miss it. I don't know what you're talking about. We're here after deserters. I know what you're here for and you're not going to get it. Well, then, perhaps you'd better come back with us and tell our colonel what you know. Get on your horse.

Grab his reins. There's no need. I shan't run. See that you don't, because if you do, we're insulted in any way.

I'll not hesitate to use this pistol. Now get moving. They rode for about half a mile in silence. Suddenly, all around them, bells began to peal, pots and pans clang together, and shouts were heard. What's all that noise about?

To warn the countryside. You see, you're too late. What shall we do? We've got to get back to the colonel.

What about him? Let him go. Let him what?

We can't. The country's been warned. He can do no more harm to us now. Take his horse and let's go. Get off, Revere.

We'll see who's too late. Enjoy your walk back to your friends. Revere made his way back to Lexington, arriving at the Clark House, just as the sun peeked over the Green Hills. There was a great commotion on the Green, as the Minutemen rushed to take their positions against the British soldiers. John Hancock was still bellowing about joining them. I am not afraid to cast my lot with those brave farm boys. John, don't be foolish. We've been elected delegates to the Continental Congress. Our duties lie elsewhere. He's right, Hancock. Revere!

What are you doing back here? I was stopped by a British patrol. They took my horse and hightailed it back to their regiment. They will not hesitate to take you and possibly kill you, both of you. You must leave at once.

Very well. Boy, bring the carriage around. Yes, sir.

Wait, what is it now? My papers. I left a trunk full of important papers at Buckman's Tavern across the Green. It must not fall into British hands. John, there is no time. Sam, you asked me to lead those who are fighting for freedom because of my importance to the Continental Congress. While those papers are what make me important, I cannot leave them behind.

Please. If they're that vital, I'll retrieve them. Revere, but you... I've already been arrested and released.

They're not interested in me. I'll deliver the trunk to you outside of town. Now go! Hancock finally agreed and sent his clerk Lowell with Revere. They ran to Buckman's Tavern, retrieved the trunk, and made their way across the Green. Halfway back, Revere looked around. What he saw startled him. To his right, perhaps seventy-minute men under the command of Captain Jonas Parker held a ragged line at the edge of the Green.

To his left, six hundred British light infantry and grenadiers under the command of Major Pitcairn stood in picture-perfect rows. Each commander barked out orders. Let the Brits pass by, lads. We'll not molest them unless they begin first. Disperse, you rebels! You villains, disperse! Lay down your arms! Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.

Revere and Lowell continued on with their load, each silently praying that both armies would back away. And suddenly, just as they cleared the field... Dear heaven. Who fired it? I don't know.

I couldn't see. Long line! Dear heaven. Set! No! Fire! Captain Parker!

Stay where you are, Lowell. Sir! We have a job to do, lad. Now let's go. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. The war begins.

Wow. Paul Revere was there from the start. He was. He witnessed the shot heard around the world, a shot that rang out for liberty. What a brave man. Yes, he was, because he lived in a time of bravery. But you know, his time really wasn't so unlike ours, and he really wasn't any more brave than we are. He simply had a task to do, and he did it. Our task is to make sure Paul Revere's midnight ride is remembered, and that what he rode for, liberty, is preserved.

Some great thoughts from John Avery Whittaker, the father figure everyone looks up to in the fictional town of Odyssey. And on this special episode of Focus on the Family, it's especially appropriate to remember the importance of bravery and courage, simply stepping out in faith to help another person when the time is right. And Jim, it's been fun hearing about Paul Revere's life on this special broadcast as we celebrate America's Independence Day. This has been a phenomenal way, John, to be reminded of our heritage, and how we should also remember the thousands of military heroes who are defending our nation right now. I hope you'll say thank you to a man or woman you see in uniform today. They're sacrificing so much, including time with family, to serve our country.

That's a true hero. And if you'd like to share more patriotic stories with your family, we have a set of 12 Adventures in Odyssey programs that deal with patriotic themes. That 4-CD collection is called For God and Country, and we're making that available for a monthly pledge of any amount as you support the work we're doing here at Focus on the Family. And let me give you a great example of our efforts. Last spring, when the COVID pandemic hit, we knew that parents would be desperate for constructive ways to occupy their kids who couldn't attend school. So we offered a free trial subscription to our Adventures in Odyssey club, which included free streaming of hundreds of Odyssey episodes.

Here's a comment we received from a mom. She said, We love listening to Odyssey on the radio and would have missed out on many fascinating stories without the free trial for the Adventures in Odyssey club. Since we were in quarantine and looking for trustworthy entertainment, we were thrilled by your offer. Thank you again for blessing us with such a fun, godly gift and for always being a shining light in a dark world. I love that, Jon.

I do, too. And it's obvious that Focus was able to make a lot of families happy. Our team tells us that over one hundred and sixteen thousand people signed up for that free trial during the pandemic. And all told, we've recorded over 900 Odyssey programs. It would take more than 16 days to listen to all of those episodes back to back.

That's not counting breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But that is amazing, Jon. And that is thanks to our donors who are supporting efforts like Adventures in Odyssey. So please consider donating today to get the God and Country collection.

It has over four hours of great patriotic content. And if a monthly pledge won't work for your family right now, we can send that out to you for a one-time donation of any amount. And when you visit our website, you can learn more about the Adventures in Odyssey club as well. Yeah, stop by our website.

We've got the link in the episode notes. Or call 800 the letter A and the word family and the God and Country set of Odyssey includes 12 episodes, including stories about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the heroes of the Underground Railroad and more. It's a fabulous collection. We'll have a great weekend celebrating Independence Day. And be sure to join us on Monday when you'll hear a unique story of how a mom began loving her neighbors by putting a turquoise picnic table out in her front yard. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us for this Focus on the Family podcast. I'm Jon Fuller, inviting you to leave a rating for us wherever you get your podcasts. Share about this podcast with a friend and plan to be with us next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Plus special monthly club only episodes and content and a focus on the family clubhouse magazine subscription. Sign up today. Just go to AIO Club dot org slash radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-25 07:16:38 / 2023-09-25 07:27:56 / 11

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