Re-enacting Paul Revere's ride

... the in's and out's of a Boston tradition

by Debbi Collar

"It was my goal to be selected as Paul Revere because it is a
great honor for me personally and an honor to portray him
on Patriot's Day."

"Paul Revere" (Leonid Kondratiuk) rides again,
Medford, Ma.

Those are the words of The National Lancers
Brigadier General Leonid Kondratiuk,who once again  
portrayed an "authentic American" by the name of Paul
Revere. He was chosen as one of a group of reenactment
riders to ride from Boston to Lexington this past Patriot's
Day. He has now made the ride three times.

The National Lancers have been taking part in
Paul Revere's and William Dawes' ride since 1910. Although
the organization began in 1836, the reenactment of Paul
Revere's ride to warn two rebellion leaders, John Hancock
and Samuel Adams of the movements of British troops on
April 18th,1775 did not begin until the later date.

How does one set the goal of reenacting Paul Revere's ride?
By joining The National Lancers.

L-R standing in National Lancers Uniform,, BG Richard
Reale Jr, BG Leonid Kondratiuk; mounted on horseback;
SSG Chris Tobin, SFC Mathew Johnson.

Kondratiuk explains the route they follow," The Paul Revere
ride starts on Hanover Street in Boston's North End
following remarks from Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. The
rider portraying Paul Revere then rides to Paul Revere Park
in Charlestown where he is greeted by several hundred
schoolchildren. The Revere rider then heads over over to
Somerville and Medford,"  before continuing on to

He adds,"The Dawes ride begins following the Annual
Patriot's Day Ceremony at Elliot Square in Roxbury. A brief
ceremony takes place at The First Church in Roxbury and
the Dawes ride then continues from Brookline to
Cambridge. Another official arrival ceremony is held in
Cambridge before he moves on to Arlington. Both
groups of riders join up in Lexington and gallop into the
Town Green in a dramatic finale, according to The
National lancers
press release. The release also
states "The conclusion of the rides is then a prelude to  the
Lexington's Annual Patriot's Day Parade - the largest in the

Also riding with Revere and Dawes are "outriders"
Kondratiuk mentions.The outriders are there for safety
concerns. Riding behind Kondratiuk is Sergeant Elaine
Corda. "She makes sure the horse is safe," Kondratiuk  
continues, "horses like company too." Horses are exercised
beginning in February and into March to prepare them for
Patriots Day."We do not rehearse the route as most of the
Lancers have been doing the ride for 20 years."

Brigadier General Leonid Kondratiuk is once again delighted
and proud to have made this historic ride again. He states
the reenactment of it always has a "double meaning" for
him. Thinking back on his own roots, he says "I am the son
of Ukrainian immigrants, I was born in England and came to
the U.S. in 1951 as an infant. This country has been great
to me. I would never have achieved the success in my life
without living in the U.S."

Qualifications for being chosen as an historic figure for the
ride, Kondratiuk claims, include "good riding skills" and "a
duty roster."

Kondratiuk's first introduction to The National
was "at a ceremony at the Wocester Armory in
2000. I always had an interest in riding and in military
ceremonies. It was a perfect fit." He officially joined in
2002. The National Lancers is an historic military
organization that changed its emphasis from military
un-ceremonial to strictly ceremonial."

Kondratiuk, who retired from the U.S. Army in 1999, has
since been appointed as  Brigadier General, Massachusetts
Organizaed MIlita as the Director of Militia Affairs, The
Adjutant General's Office with The National Lancers.

The one time Melrosian, who is currently residing in
Belmont, also participated in the Lantern Ceremony at the
Old North Church before saddling up for his portion of the
ride from Boston to Arlington the following day.

*Note - there are two riders portraying Paul Revere and
two portraying William Dawes. Paul Revere Riders switch off
in Arlington.

One of  Kondratiuk's stops, as Paul Revere, is in Medford at
the home of Captain Isaac Hall.

He dismounts from his horse and knocks on the door of the
house asking to be admitted inside.

Paul Revere stops at Captain Isaac Hall's House
L-Leonid Kondratiuk (Paul Revere) R- Medford High
School Senior,Patrick DeCroteau

The stop at this house in Medford, which was once known
as "Mystic" according to Kondratiuk," is due to Revere
changing his planned route to avoid British patrols." Revere
changed his route in Charlestown as he was challenged by
British officers on horseback. He had to take a longer route
to avoid them."

Asked about crowd reactions that he has seen while riding
as the historic figure, he said, "I am struck by the fact that I
am reenacting  the role of Paul Revere on the actual route
he took  on the night of April 18, 1775. The former
Fairmount Street (Melrose) resident added, "When I stop in
Somerville, I am swamped by children and adults of many
races and the children of immigrants. I see myself in them."

Retired Army Colonel/Brigadier General, Leonid Kondratiuk
is also an historian says that along the route, those chosen
to portray Paul Revere and William Dawes "have their lines
ready when we make stops and address the crowds."

The press release also promises that "riders will also make
several other stops along the way to tell children's groups
about the importance of "the Paul Revere and William
Dawes ride back in 1775."

The National Lancers-Mass. Organized Militia
Commander Brigadier General Richard Reale Jr. of Newton,
chooses horses and riders for the Patriot's Day event. The
choice is made simply - "a duty roster and good riding
skills," according to Kondratiuk. Every 3-5 years there is a
change. The National Lancers training grounds
are at Camp DiCarlo in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The 2015 personnel participating in the Paul Revere and
William Dawes' rides include:  Major (MA) Jim DiCarlo of
Littleton, Sergeant First Class (MA), Matthew Johnon of
Medfield, Staff Sergeant (MA) Matthew Tobin of
Holliston, Sergeant (MA) Elaine Corda of Framingham, Staff
Sergeant (MA) Chris Tobin of Holliston, Corporal (MA) Tina
Leboef of Grafton, Corporal (MA) Christine Sturniolo of
Northborough, and Private First Class (MA) Eric Gallant of
Merrimack, NH.

Kondratiuk was riding "Grant" this past Patriot's Day.
"The horse was transferred to us," he says "by the Caisson
Platoon, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Fort Meyer, VA.  He was
used to pull the caisson on which a fallen soldier's  casket
is placed and transported to the grave site at Arlington
National Cemetery. Many of the horses that The
National Lancers,
Massachusetts Organized Militia use
have also performed this duty before coming to the

The history of the American Revolution and the
continuation of the reenactment of Paul Revere's ride,
Kondratiuk sees as a means of "teaching future
generations about liberty, freedom and civic engagement."

More information on The National Lancers
can be obtained by visiting their website at

Captain Isaac Hall's House is located at 43 High Street,
Medford, Ma. It currently operates under the name of
Gaffey Funeral Home under the ownership of Joe

May 1, 2015

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