Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Patriots Day!

In case you are not familiar, this is the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Patriots Day. I grew up in Lexington where this was the high point of the year. We got up each year, early, and marched in the youth sunrise parade at approximately 730 am - a ritual of childhood for every child in town. Then we hung around and watched the really boring (from a child's point of view) ceremonies on the green and then got to watch, or even march in, the big parade around 130. This was a great day each year where we would eat cotton candy and other 'healthy' treats and hang out with our friends.

Then the pesky bicentennial neared in 1975 and they decided to add a battle reenactment. It started to be held in the afternoon but as a measure of crowd control, after a few years it was switched to its real time at 6 am. But its kind of amazing at how many people will get up early these days - and they just showed it on the news and the crowds were dozen deep with people on ladders in the back.

The rest of the year, it was a sleepy town, where you couldn't get away with ANYTHING (even jay walking) and nothing ever happened. As teenagers, we sneered at tourists, particularly the bus loads of them that would deposit their loads of camera laden out of towners, who strolled around town and stood in the middle of the road to take pictures. But for one day, it was exciting and fun.

We heard about this little road race called the Boston Marathon that would also go on but we really didn't know anyone who would go watch it. Why? We had more fun going on with street vendors and parades and clowns and junk food.

Now my life is a bit different. This is by choice. I have a new routine for Patriots Day. I start my day by watching the reenactment on the news. Then I might go for a walk. Then I start my marathon. It starts earlier now than in previous years but once again I have adapted. I will get ready and prepare my snacks and settle in on the living room couch, accompanied by my laptop and cat and a cup of herbal tea, and get ready for a marathon of marathon watching.

Now they are saying that there is a movement to make Patriot's Day a national holiday. Currently it is only observed in Massachusetts and Maine (which was part of Massachusetts until the 1830's - I bet you didn't know that fact). It is supposed to make American's more aware of their revolutionary roots. For me, it has always been a holiday.

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