Monday, April 19, 2010

A Massachusetts holiday shared by history buffs and the sports world

April 19th this year, and most usually the 3rd Monday in April, Massachusetts hosts one of the most famous running events in the world, the Boston Marathon. But really, it’s Patriots' Day, a holiday unique to our state where we celebrate and reenact on this day the battle on Lexington Green between the redcoats (British) and a ragtag group known as patriots. Also, Patriot Day events in nearby Concord host a mid-morning parade with lots of fife-and-drum bands and groups of Minutemen from surrounding towns, followed by ceremonies at Old North Bridge and the repeated firing of two brass cannons.

The events of more than two centuries ago in April 1775, now commemorated as the Patriots' Day holiday in Massachusetts, 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.

114th running of the Boston Marathon
Beyond Lexington and Concord, Patriots' Day would probably be just a bank and government holiday for the most part if we hadn’t added, 114 years ago, the 26 mile run known as the Boston Marathon. (26,000 runners this year.) And while we usually have someone staying with us connected to the event; a runner, family/fans of a runner, or media, this year it’s a welcome mix of previous guests and visitors that are attracted to Salem as their destination, and not the events in either Boston, Lexington or Concord. Add to all that, the Red Sox are playing at Fenway Park this morning (11am) and you most certainly have unmeasurable crowds in Boston, which may have directed a few of our guests away from the big city and to Salem, a suburb town with just as much history and charm as any of those other communities, minus the crowds. For me, I think I will just watch all of this excitement on TV in the warmth and safety of my kitchen….a place where I can channel surf from one event to another...... A arm chair spectator; no traveling or searching for a parking space required.

The route of the marathon covers all these communities.....

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