Marlborough reenactor helps lead local Patriots Day celebrations

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Photo by/Jesse Kucewicz
Tom Griffin, of the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute Ancient Fyfe and Drum Companies, plays his fyfe April 19.

By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

MARLBOROUGH – Local Revolutionary War reenactors rose early April 19 to march to Concord, unload musket fire, then hike back to the Sudbury/Marlborough border for long-awaited Patriots Day celebrations. 

Marlborough resident and Lieutenant Colonel Tim Tonner helped lead his Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute as they joined the area’s Ancient Fyfe and Drum Companies in these efforts. Together, the groups marked this holiday, observed in memory of the Battles of Lexington, Concord and Menotomy, which simultaneously helped start the American Revolution in 1775.

“It went pretty well,” Tonner said after the events this month. “The weather was special ordered. We were thrilled about it.”

Normally a Super Bowl of sorts for area history buffs, Patriots Day 2021 saw its traditional, large-scale battle reenactments at Minuteman National Park in Lexington and Concord canceled for a second consecutive year due to COVID-19. 

That had people like Tonner both disappointed and busy scheduling their own scaled-down events.

“Everybody has been itching to get out,” Tonner said. “It’s frustrating, for sure.” 

Marshaling his men, Tonner participated in a march to the Concord town line. There, instead of proceeding to the historic North Bridge as is tradition, reenactors assembled and fired a volley of blank musket shots. 

They then turned around and headed to the Wayside Inn, where a few dozen families were waiting. 

In the shadow of the region’s well-known grist mill, Tonner and his group fired additional musket volleys while also mingling and answering questions about everything from their weapons to their dress.

“We do this because we enjoy living history and reenacting,” Tonner said.

Life isn’t back to normal. For much of the day April 19, in fact, people like Tonner presented as 18th Century soldiers while simultaneously wearing the indelible mark of the present day, which is a face mask.

Still, Tonner said his tight night community went home happy last week, 

“There’s been a lot of cancellations and when those cancellations come up on calendars, that kind of sucks,” he said. “[But] It worked out just perfect. Everything fell into place.”