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Patriots' Day

The third Monday of April is the official observance day for Patriots' Day in Massachusetts, Maine and Wisconsin. The day commemorates the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, the Battles of Lexington and Concord near Boston, Massachusetts. The battles were fought 240 years ago on April 19, 1775. Re-enactments of the battles occur on Lexington Green and at the Old North Bridge in Concord. The Massachusetts State Police escort modern day re-enactors of Paul Revere and William Dawes as they call out the warning to the countryside that "The British Are Coming, the British are Coming." This saying might be folklore but the scene that followed isn't.

Engraving of the Battle of Lexington in 1775. Public domain.

The British and the colonists had been sparring for several years and the British had decided that it was time to gather the weapons that the colonists were stockpiling. Over 700 British soldiers arrived at Lexington around 6 a.m. and confronted the approximately 70 militiamen who had gathered. Although the British goal had been to gather weapons and historians would argue that no one had really intended for the "war" to start that day, shots were fired and the farmers were shocked when the clouds of smoke cleared to find eight of their friends and neighbors mortally wounded. The cry for help across the area surrounding Lexington and Concord went out to all the neighboring villages. The British then marched off to Concord to find the stockpiled guns. The British burned parts of the town and the groups stumbled into each other on either sides of Concord's North Bridge. Historians believe that the British fired first but then "the shot heard 'round the world" came from the small group of militiamen which by this time had grown to a few hundred men. The British, decided it was best to return the 18 miles to Boston. They thought they had made their point, and were clearly surprised by the spunk of these colonists firing on them.

The return to Boston was not as easy as the Redcoats had planned. By this time over 2000 "Minute Men," known as such because they could assemble on a moment's notice, were following the British and then hiding behind stonewalls and trees and taking popshots at the British as they marched back to town. The British suffered over 300 casualties and 73 deaths. By the time they reached Boston over 15000 militiamen had surrounded the city and lay siege to the City, until St. Patrick's Day 1776 when the British were forced to leave town when ships from England finally arrived to rescue them.

The poem, "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, was sung as a hymn at the dedication of the Concord Monument on July 4, 1837.

Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Competitive Drill: How to Coach Without Having to Yell All the Time

It's not uncommon for me to see team coaches running around in anger, yelling at their team to "get it together," and issuing push-ups or other creative forms of punishments for dropped rifles, talking in formation, and other mistakes. While this may be fairly effective, it is also a very negative way to coach. In this article, I'm going to make a case for a more positive coaching atmosphere.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about being lenient with your group, or letting them walk all over you. I'm talking about structuring your practice in such a way that they don't have time to talk, and replacing dead space in practice with more practicing. Over several years of coaching, I've developed my own personal style of coaching that brings a more fun atmosphere to drill, without sacrificing the discipline or challenge of drill.

The first step is to bring up the total level of energy. The kids you coach have a tendency to mirror the energy level of their superior. If you want to energize one person, you need to have a small increase in energy. To energize a team of twelve people, you'll need to have a surge of energy at the very beginning of practice. Run with the team to the proper position, power walk around them as they practice, talk loudly and with animation to engage them in the moment. All of these things will raise their energy level and allow them to contribute more to their practice.

The second step is to eliminate gaps in practice. Do not stop practice to address one person who is having issues with the drill, because the other eleven people will grow bored and begin to talk and play. This is inevitable, and if it's happening, it's the coach's fault, not theirs. Instead of putting your energy towards one person, there are two options you can take - either have the commander (or next in command) take over for the exercise while you bring the one person to the side, or allow another one of the cadets to take the problem child to the side for instruction. This option will reinforce the drill in the teacher, and help the other driller get a good grasp on the drill maneuvers.

Another way to eliminate gaps in practice is to establish a checkpoint system. This system is designed to be fast paced, and is perfect for engaging drillers in the sequencing. At an arbitrary and stationary point in the drill, announce that it is a checkpoint. Instruct them to move on with the drill. If they perform below expectation, tell them to reset to the previous checkpoint. Don't forget to run ahead of them into position (to keep the energy level high).

By raising the level of energy in the group, you will ensure your cadets are having fun with their drill. By eliminating empty space during practice, you will eliminate talking and horse-play during practice. Remember, the short-comings of the team are the short-comings of the coach. Practice doesn't have to devolve into yelling and physical fitness if the coach approaches it in the right way. Thanks for reading and happy drilling.

Adam Jeup has been an active driller for 11 years and has competed at IWDC. He owns and operates Independent Drill, a learning resource for drillers of all skill levels. Adam is a regular contributor to the Bugler. Stay tuned for his exclusive articles on competitive drill!

Glendale Sightings

May is the month for the 2015 National High School Drill Team Championships at the Ocean Center Arena in Daytona Beach, Florida from May 2-4. Glendale Parade Store is in the mix as a proud sponsor and participant. We look forward to this event every year and invite you to come by our booth and say hello. Good luck to all of the schools!

Glendale and ParadeStore.com

Glendale outfits honor guards, color guards, and drill units. Visit our site for the best in parade and drill equipment and for uniform accessories at http://www.ParadeStore.com

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