On October 2, this coming Thursday, I will be conducting a short walking tour for a local elementary school. Meeting at the Old 76 House on Main Street in Tappan
, I will lead the kids up Old Tappan
Road to Andre Hill Drive, where the monument to Major John Andre stands. Major Andre was hanged as a spy on October 2, 1780, and buried where he died. His body lay there until 1821, when it was disinterred and brought back to Westminster Abbey in London. Ninety-nine years after Andre's death, on October 2, 1879, a monument to him was dedicated on the site of his execution by Cyrus Fields, the American who laid the first trans-Atlantic telegraph line. This was done in the name of Anglo-American friendship, but old memories die hard, and after being defaced by a chisel, the monument was dynamited not once, but twice, in 1882 and 1885. Since then, the monument has been left alone. Only time has done its damage, and that to the surrounding cast iron fence. So, on Thursday, I'll tell Andre's story, read the lengthy inscription, and fire my flintlock musket in the memory of one who, in his last words, asked that people bear witness "...that I met my fate like a brave man."