Screams of patriotism were overheard in front of the Old State House last night as performers portraying American settlers and British soldiers re-enacted the Boston Massacre of 1770.
Over two centuries after the landmark event when five Bostonians were shot to death by British soldiers who refused to submit to the taunting of the settlers, members of the Massachusetts Council of Minutemen and Militia and His Majesty’s Fifth Regiment of Foot, executed a realistic portrayal.
A crowd of around 400 people cheered along with the Council of Minutemen as they heckled a British guard with a doll of King George the Third, then booed the redcoats of the Regiment of Foot who tried to break up the melee. The shots were fired, and the crowd jumped.
Crispus Attucks was the first man to die on that fateful night, and was represented in the re-enactment by Bull, his direct descendant.
‘I hope I died well,’ Bull quipped.
Bull is a member of the Natick Company of Minutemen, which, according to Natick resident Marco Kaltofen, was once the largest Native-American town in Massachusetts.
The goal of the Natick Company, according to Kaltofen, is to help others understand American history.
‘This is education through re-enactment,’ Kaltofen said. ‘We want to teach people about this time period what [the settlers] were doing at the time.’
Viewers of the re-enactment were not only entertained by the actors, but were also given a fun lesson of the times of the revolution.
‘I’m going to be a history teacher, and these [re-enactments] would pay off,’ said Lyndsey Deane, a junior at Malone College in Dayton, Ohio. ‘Compared to doing it in a book, it’s so great.’
Deane, along with Megan Dodd, Jeff Lookbaugh and Kurt Letner, all juniors at Malone College, were in Boston for Spring Break. Lookbaugh said they saw some funky dressed people and followed them, leading them to the re-enactment.
‘I feel extremely lucky to have seen this,’ Letner said.
Within the crowd were local school groups and families. After the re-enactment, the players, in character, described the scene on March 5, 1770 in more detail. One member of the Regiment of Foot demonstrated how to march like a traditional British soldier.
‘It took the people of Massachusetts 15 years to go to war,’ Kaltofen said, ‘but when it came they were the first to defeat the undefeated British army.’
According to Kaltofen, this is the 10th year the players have re-enacted the Boston Massacre. The players did not perform only once in 11 years due to a blizzard warning.
The patriotism exhibited at the re-enactment echoes the loyalty shown by American citizens after Sept. 11. With the impending war on Iraq approaching, Lookbaugh pondered America’s current role as seen by Iraqi citizens.
Lookbaugh, alluding to Britain’s control of America at the time of the real Massacre, asked, ‘are we [in Iraq] seen as the British?’