Monday, April 19, 2010
Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day are four distinctly American tributes to liberties, freedom and democracy, commemorated by a holiday in the United States.
Then there is Patriots' Day. For New Englanders, Patriots' Day remains the quintessential observance: the anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War with skirmishes between British troops and the Minute Men of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, and preceded by Paul Revere's famous Midnight Ride. For runners, Patriots' Day has become synonymous with the Boston Marathon or, as locals often refer to the day, Marathon Monday.
The events of more than two centuries ago in April 1775, now commemorated as the Patriots' Day holiday in Massachusetts and Maine, marked a turning point in the long struggle between England and her American colonies. In a march of protest and petition, which turned into revolution and independence, the fighting on April 19, 1775 foreshadowed the rebellious action of the American colonies in ultimately creating a new nation, the United States of America. Originally celebrated on April 19, Patriots' Day was moved to the third Monday of April in 1969.
(Patriots Grave, Old Burying Ground, Arlington, Massachusetts)
While "the shot heard 'round the world" continues to reverberate in re-enactments of the historic events, the sound of gunfire also will ring clearly in Hopkinton this Patriots' Day to signal the start of the 114th Boston Marathon and to recall the ideals of the American Revolution.
Patriot[s'] Day is not to be confused with Patrio[t] Day; Patriot Day is observed on September 11th.
Patriot Day was signed into law on December 18, 2001 as a day to remember those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on our country.
On Patriot Day, Americans should fly their flags at half-staff and observe a moment of silence to honor those individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks.
On September 11, 2001, two hijacked civilian aircraft crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third hijacked aircraft crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. And a forth hijacked aircraft crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take control of the aircraft in order to prevent the hijackers from crashing the aircraft into an important symbol of democracy and freedom. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives in this tragedy.
The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation calling on:
1. State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities;
2. All departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States and interested organizations and individuals to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001;
3. The people of the United States to observe a moment of silence on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001.
The President and First Lady ask Americans to volunteer in their communities as a way of honoring the heroes of September 11 and those who continue to serve in uniform.
I came to New England a year and a half ago. I am still learning about all the things that make this region of the U.S. special and unique. Patriots' Day is one of the more interesting and touching traditions. It's beautiful to see the dispalys of heartfelt patriotism where I live. All U.S. citizens should be so thankful and observant every day of the year.
Happy Patriots' Day to one and all...no matter where you live.