Happy Patriots Day

2002-04-19

Celebrating a forgotten American holiday.

Today is Patriots Day. Which day, you ask? An American holiday that is celebrated in only two states (Massachusetts and my home state of Maine, which until 1820 was a province of Massachusetts), but which deserves to be recognized more widely. Patriots Day commemorates the events of April 19, 1775, when the "shot heard 'round the world" set off the first hostilities in the war of the American Revolution. Probably the most famous remembrance of those events is Emerson's Concord Hymn (written for the dedication in 1836 of a monument to those first American revolutionaries):

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Amen.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal