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John's Revolutionary Wish: Community Rallies for Young History Buff

  • It was hard to miss John's pure joy on his wish day! Photo courtesy of Michael Blanchard Photography.

  • John was given a custom-made costume, including his tri-cornered hat. Here, he talks with members of the press. Photo courtesy of Michael Blanchard Photography.

  • John prepares to march with the Acton Minute Men. Photo courtesy of Michael Blanchard Photography.

  • John drums with the Acton Minute Men as they proceed to Concord. Photo courtesy of Michael Blanchard Photography.

  • Groups from both the Colonial and the British side get into formation to be led by John. Photo courtesy of Michael Blanchard Photography.

  • John leads the way to North Bridge in Concord. Photo courtesy of Michael Blanchard Photography.

  • John with his family and members of the Acton Minute Men. Photo courtesy of Michael Blanchard Photography.

  • In a rehearsal photo courtesy of His Majesty's 10th Regiment of Foot, John poses with his drum teacher, Anthony Jenkins (first row, far right) and other members of the group.

  • While in Boston, John and his family enjoyed touring historic sites. Photo courtesy of the McConnell family.

[It was] a day that magnified the collective strength, heart, and compassion at the core of the Make-A-Wish mission!

Patriots’ Day 2018 will long be remembered as the day that an incredible community came together to help grant the wish of a young history buff.

John, 14, and his family traveled to Boston from Anchorage, Alaska, for his wish to participate in the Patriots’ Day Revolutionary War reenactment.  John’s fascination with American history began in social studies class, and he admires “how the colonists started out as such a rag tag group that managed to create a country and beat one of the most powerful armies in the world.” Getting lost in history books and shows is a favorite hobby for John, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He isn’t able to run or play sports, so he took to music and began playing the drums at an early age.

Plans for John’s wish got underway and it wasn’t long before it was decided that he would participate in the Patriots’ Day reenactment as a drummer! He spent months learning his drumming part online via FaceTime with Anthony Jenkins, a drummer and reenactor in Massachusetts.


On the eve of John’s wish day, as the weather forecast became increasingly stormy, the official public reenactment event was cancelled – yet the reenactment community wouldn’t let weather get in the way.  They rallied together and came out in full force to make sure John’s wish came true!

In the early morning hours of Patriots’ Day, John and his family enjoyed VIP seating and a special welcome at the Lexington Battle reenactment. John then joined the Acton Minute Men for their march to Concord, where he and his drum led the march to the North Bridge for the battle demonstration. John gave the official drum command, alerting the group to fire their muskets! 


Thanks to the power of community, John experienced his wish-come-true through a day that magnified the collective strength, heart, and compassion at the core of the Make-A-Wish mission!


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We were honored to fulfill John’s wish in partnership with Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington and in collaboration with the National Park Service and Minute Man National Historical Park, the Acton Minute Men and the Lexington Minute Men, His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Foot, and countless members of the historical reenactment community who came together to support John.  In addition, GRIT, a local startup, provided a specially designed, all-terrain GRIT Freedom Chair for John’s use on Patriots’ Day.

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