On 22 April 1775, the coastal town of New London, where Nathan Hale was a school teacher, responded to the news of battle at Lexington and Concord. The following is an excerpt from But One Life, based on historical records that note Hale stepping up to speak to the men who had gathered.
A town meeting was called to discuss New London’s response to the battles at Lexington and Concord. The British were besieged in Boston, and some believed we should take the fight directly to them. Would it send them scurrying across the ocean or bring down the awful wrath of the greatest military in the world?
Of course, there were also those who wished to wait for more news or a response from London or whatever that something was that would spur them into action. I had read enough history to know that timidly waiting for the right moment rarely led to victory. Though I was young and not native to New London, I stood.
‘Let us join our brothers in arms in their stand against tyranny. I will go. Who is with me?’
I was surprised how many men loudly roared their agreement once one had stood to boldly speak. I had to yell to be heard over them.
‘Let us march at once and never lay down our arms until independence is won!’
I could scarcely believe myself, but I felt infused with the strength of my friends and loved ones. It was for their liberty and peace that I was willing to fight.