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What on Earth is Patriots’ Day?


Boston Marathon Finish Line by jcsullivan24 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

What on Earth is Patriots’ Day?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Today, April 20th, 2020 may be known to most as the ultimate 4/20. To Mainers, Connecticut(-ians? -ers? -ites?) and Mass-holes, it’s a holiday. Oddly enough, it’s also a holiday in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and is encouraged in Florida. But, then again, what isn’t encouraged in Florida? To everyone else in the world? It’s just another manic Monday.

So, what is Patriots Day? Technically it commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Lexington, Battle of Concord, and Battle of Menotomy were all fought on April 19th. Instead of celebrating on that date specifically, it is observed on the third Monday of April.

But, more than anything, to those of us from Eastern Massachusetts, it’s the day of the 11 AM Red Sox game and the Boston Marathon. A day most businesses in Boston close and take to the streets to watch roughly 30,000 people attempt 26.2 miles to cross the finish line on Boylston Street.

This year things are different. The global pandemic caused by Coronavirus is pushing back weddings, forcing homeschooling, and has shut down all major athletic activities. Boston’s marathon will, as of now, be tentatively held on September 14th.

I can’t help but think back to April 15, 2013. That was the last time marathon day felt this eerie. I was living in Boston at the time, and was at my office on Congress street. Of course, we weren’t one of those businesses who shut down on that day.

We had a small number of our coworkers who were running. Down came the projector screen, and the office had marathon coverage on all day. Then a guy on my team shared a Tweet with the us. And suddenly people were scrambling to find out what was going on. At first, I thought the stands at the finish line had been poorly constructed and fell, injuring some. And, honestly, I wish that’s all it had been.

As we started to learn the truth, that multiple bombs exploded near the finish line, the day gets a bit blurry. We were concerned about our own. Anyone who wanted to go home early was allowed to, and Boston descended into chaos and fear. The city and surrounding towns went into lockdown and a manhunt ensued. I remember specifically having our power shut off and cell towers went down in an effort to help the local and federal officers track down who did it. And they did. Because we helped.

It was weird. We felt caged, scared, and alone, even if we were with others. Obviously this feels pretty similar. Reasoning may be different, but this is an odd time. But just like in Boston, we have to band together (by being apart). Remember, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay indoors to help those who are on the front lines get to as swift a solution as possible. Donate if you can. Find some kind of routine to help curb the abnormalities you’re feeling. But, ultimately, don’t feel bad about feeling weird or depressed.

What was the question I asked in the first place? Oh, right. What on Earth is Patriots Day? It’s a day to remember the fight in us. To remember how much resolve we have when we’re reaching for the same goals. We’re going to get through this. We’ll cross that finish line together.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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