Patriots’ Day. It’s a holiday only we in Maine and Massachusetts celebrate. Maine joins Massachusetts for this celebration because the two states were one colony at the time. Patriots’ Day wasn’t always on April 20th. The actual “shot heard around the world” was fired early on April 19th in Lexington, MA. It was the beginning of the Revolutionary War against the rule of England. The Battle at Lexington has been long held as the opening salvo of that war.
About three hours after Lexington, the battle was engaged in Concord and there was no turning back. That war ultimately resulted in this great country we call The United States of America. Since 1969 when Congress attempted to get nearly all American holidays to be celebrated on a Monday of a month, Patriots’ Day has been celebrated on the third Monday of April.
The Revolution began the day following that Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, immortalized by Henry Wardsworth Longfellow, when he told the patriots that the British army was landing to put down the uprising that little tea party in Boston had caused. The Englishmen were not prepared for the untraditional war hit and run tactics of the patriots.
In Maine, that holiday usually also begins the April Vacation Week, sometimes called Spring Vacation Week, of public schools. Most school vacation weeks contain a holiday so only four days of potential productivity is lost.
In many Massachusetts cities and towns, the celebration is a weekend long event. Celebrations and parades and other events, such as re-enactments of that beginning, are held, especially when the real anniversary day falls near that third Monday, as it did yesterday.
On this Patriots’ Day, like others in the past, The Boston Red Sox baseball team will play a game in Fenway Park. They have celebrated this event with the game every single year since 1959, except when postponed by rain. Today’s game is scheduled for 11:05 against Baltimore.
The very world famous Boston Marathon will also be run today. It draws world class athletes from all around the world and also very good athletes from around New England and the U.S. It is another Patriots’ Day tradition, one that causes many Bostonians to call this day Marathon Monday, rather than Patriots’ Day.
Road races are held in many other cities and towns throughout New England to celebrate the day. Portland, however, had its five-miler from the Boys’ Club yesterday.
Many other celebration events also take place as we reflect on the beginnings of the United States of America.
Now many of the spirits, reasons, and ideals that made that greatness may be changing. Perhaps we all should take just a few minutes today to look at our Constitution and see the sacrifices that were made by great Patriots throughout the land to create this great nation. It might be time to think about returning to our roots.
Happy Patriots’ Day, everyone.