Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Monday, April 19, is Patriots' Day in Massachusetts and Maine

Monday, April 19, 2021, is Patriots' (plural possessive) Day in Massachusetts and Patriot's (singular possessive) Day in Maine.

"Listen, my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five."

New England's original "On the Road" man looms large in these parts -- life-sized, in fact, in bronze, in Boston's North End. There, as well, you'll find his house preserved, just as his ride is preserved in the Longfellow poem.

"You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled --"

The battles that morning of April 19 in the Massachusetts towns of Concord, Lexington, and Menotomy (now Arlington) officially mark the beginning of the American War of Independence. The war formally concluded September 3, 1783, with the Treaty of Paris, although it was effectively over a few months earlier. In Massachusetts and Maine (part of Massachusetts until 1820, when, under the "Missouri Compromise" Maine, a free State was admitted to the Union, paired with Missouri, a slave State) we celebrate the beginning of our independence as Patriots'/Patriot's Day, and, in normal years, like Revere, we take to the road in a renowned twenty-six miles of road from Hopkinton to Boston.

The Boston Marathon has been run since 1897. The first modern marathon was run at the 1896 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The inspiration for the race was the (questionable) tale of Pheidippides, who after the Greeks, in late summer 490 B.C., won the Battle of Marathon, ran the 26 miles to Athens, said a single word "Victory," and dropped dead. At Marathon Greece, freedom, democracy, and Western civilization faced and defeated the forces of Oriental absolutism. It is a battle that has been fought many times. It will be fought many more times. Freedom must always be prepared to fight just to be free.

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