Thursday, April 19, 2012

Patriot’s Day, 19 April 1775 and 1975

“On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year”

-          From The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The year 1975 is one I always remember because it was the year I decided to trace my family tree.  I was only thirteen years old, and I lived in Massachusetts.  It was the prelude to the nation’s Bicentennial celebration, and in 1975 Lexington and Concord celebrated the 200th anniversary on April 19th.  There were re-enactments going on all around me that year, including the Knox Trail, Bunker Hill, etc.  It was an exciting time to be a kid in Massachusetts, and it really piqued my interest in American History and our family genealogy.  Two years later I found out that my Munroe ancestors participated in the Battle of Lexington, and several Munroes were killed that day. 

We took our daughter to see the 225th Anniversary of the Battle of Lexington re-enactment, which involved getting to the Lexington Green at o’dark hundred to get a good spot right by the ropes which marked off the battlefield.  We watched our ancestors fall to their deaths, which was an odd experience. You can read about that experience at this link: 

Here are some old images from our family slides that I digitized.  The quality is poor, but it brings back memories of the Bicentennial year…

Holden, Massachusetts Bicentennial Parade
This young man was in my high school class. 
He walked with his oxen during the winter 1976 re-enactment of the 
Knox Trail when they passed through central Massachusetts.
I remember visiting one of the encampments near my hometown.

We visited Disney World in Florida for the first time
in 1976.  The Main Street parade had an
American History theme that year for the Bicentennial. 

In 1975,  my family visited the
Mayflower II in Plymouth, MA.  It took me over 25 years to find 
out that my mother had eleven Mayflower passengers
in her family tree.  She couldn't believe it! 

In 1775 my Girl Scout Troop visited Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania.  We saw many things, and this is one
of the few photos I took.  Back then
the bell was in Independence Hall and we could touch it.  
A year later it was moved across the street to a well guarded pavilion. 
Twenty years after this trip I found out Ben Franklin was my
1st cousin 8 generations removed. 

As you can see, I started my genealogy research very early, but I found some fascinating connections between my family and American history!  

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I really like the photos. Pictures just add so much to our family stories.
    It has been rewarding for me also to be able to add factual information to the story about my family history.

  2. I enjoyed this post Heather! I turned 11 in 1975, and I definitely remember what a big deal the Bicentennial was in Massachusetts!