Minuteman Statue in Lexington, Mass.
In the poem entitled "Concord Hymn," Ralph Waldo Emerson called the first shot of the American Revolution the "shot heard 'round the world." That shot was fired in Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775 and Emerson's grandfather, a local minister, was the first man to show up, gun in hand, after the alarm was sounded. Seventy-six other men joined him. By the time they reached Concord, Mass. they were 400 strong. By day's end, there were 3800 colonists engaged in the battle for freedom. It is this first battle of the war that is commemorated in Massachusetts on Patriots' Day.