Cross-posted at Four Freedoms Blog. Do come and visit if you can.
This is my city.
Yesterday was our day.
I mean no insult to New York, or those that were lost, but until September 11, it was just that, September 11, an otherwise ordinary day with no significance to New York.
Patriot’s Day is Boston.
It’s more than the sporting events. We do have the Marathon, which I shouldn’t have to tell you is the oldest annual marathon in the world, having been inspired by the 1896 Olympics. Hopkinton, the “scream tunnel”, Heartbreak Hill, Rick and Dick Hoyt, Copley Square…these are all household names around the world. Our other sports claim to fame on this day is the Boston Red Sox. Before the marathon was altered, it always kicked off at noon…and the Red Sox first pitch was always at 10:30 am, the only morning start in all of baseball.
The idea was the game would be just wrapping up as the runners hit Kenmore Square.
I used to work in said Square in those days; it was absolute chaos. The company I worked for at the time gave up trying to fight it…we went out for “lunch” at about 1:30 to catch the elite runners passing through, and we’d always wait for the Hoyts to pass by before heading back in.
But there’s more to it than that….a few miles outside the city are the bedroom communities of Lexington and Concord. Every Patriot’s Day morning since the Bicentennial, hundreds of uniformed re-enactors, and thousands of spectators, trace the route of the Patriots starting with Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and ending up with the regulars getting routed at Old North Bridge.
This year, there was also a Bruins game at the Garden….the Boston Symphony was playing at Symphony hall…and despite the cold weather, the Swan Boats were in the water and the flowerbeds in the Public Garden were just starting to sprout with their spring goodness.
Patriot’s Day is Boston’s annual day in the sun. Whether or not you’re a sports fan, we are all Americans, and the historical aspects are always worth celebrating and remembering.
A heinous act has changed all that. Patriot’s Day is not a fixed holiday; it’s one of those “hack” holidays that seem to be for state employees and no one else, and as such it always takes place on the third Monday of April, which is also school vacation week in these parts.
I went to Lexington and Concord for the re-enactment myself when I was one of said schoolkids (for the big one in ’76, no less!) and the last time I was at the Marathon was a special trip in 1996 for the 100th running.
I was just contemplating early yesterday that I should take the day off next year and take Javi to do these things.
This may yet happen, but there will now forever be a black stain upon this day, when we normally celebrate history, athletic prowess, and the coming of spring.
Terrorists? Well sure, but New Englanders don’t terrorize easily. If we didn’t shrink back from what was the world’s superpower 238 years ago, what makes anyone think we’ll fold up today?