Baltimore Area Council
Our American Heritage is filled with heroes. Everyone here has heard of Paul Revere and the story of his heroic ride to warn the people of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts about the approach of the British army. His famous ride took place during the revolutionary war, on April 18, 1775. Paul was able to take his ride because he was signaled by a sentry, who watched for soldiers from the tower of the Old North Church in Boston. Paul and the sentry worked out a simple set of signals: The sentry would light lanterns...one lantern if the soldiers were approaching by LAND and two lanterns if they were arriving by SEA. Paul, mounted on his horse would be watching for the signal, and ready to ride and warn the people of Lexington and Concord to be ready for the soldiers when they arrived.
Have you ever thought what a hard time Paul and his sentry would have had today? Just think of all the ways those British soldiers could come! Let’s rewrite a little American history and you can help me and you’ll see just how confusing it would be today. I want you to stomp the floor with your feet when I say the following words:
Stomp once every time I say LAND
Stomp four times for TRAIN
Stomp twice for SEA
Stomp five times for SUBMARINE
Stomp three times for AIRPLANE
Stomp six times for ROCKET
Now we are ready to take another look at history!
In a steeple of the old North Church in Boston, a sentry looked out over the SEA. His eyes strained as he looked across the LAND. All was very still. It was late at night. Next to him was a lantern. He took a sheet of paper that a Boston citizen had given him from his pocket. It read, “Signal with your lantern when you see the British army approaching. The signals are: 1 if by LAND, 2 if by SEA, 3 if by AIRPLANE, 4 if by TRAIN, 5 if by SUBMARINE, and 6 if by ROCKET.”
After reading it, the sentry began to put it in his pocket, Just as a gust of wind blew the paper out of his hand. Out across the LAND and into the SEA it went. The sentry thought. “I’m sure I can remember it” Just then he saw a SUBMARINE surface a short distance from the LAND. He grabbed his lantern to wave it 4 times. “Oh, No!” he thought, “4 times for ROCKET, or is it for LAND? No it’s 1 for LAND, so it must be 2 for SUBMARINE, no, 2 is for AIRPLANE. It must be 3.” As he started to raise his lantern, he remembered that 2 was for SEA, not AIRPLANE. “Oh dear, what is SUBMARINE? Let’s see, SUBMARINE comes after TRAIN but what’s ROCKET? Oh, now I remember, ROCKET is 6 and TRAIN is 4 so SUBMARINE must be 5.”
While the sentry was trying to remember his signals, the British SUBMARINE had loaded its passengers into launches and hundreds of British soldiers were now on LAND. “Oh my, thought the sentry, “they are not in a SUBMARINE anymore they are on LAND. I’ll have to signal that.” But he couldn’t remember what the signal was for LAND. He desperately tried to remember. I remember ROCKET and TRAIN. That leaves SEA, AIRPLANE, and LAND. Oh now which is it? He set there hopelessly confessed. He Just couldn’t remember any signals. He couldn’t unscramble ROCKET, AIRPLANE, LAND, SUBMARINE, SEA and TRAIN. The British marched onto Lexington and Concord and since all the people were sound asleep the soldiers had no trouble in capturing them.
The only person they met was a man sitting on a horse. Who he was or why he was there, no one seemed to know.