Did you know the third Monday in April is a state holiday here in Massachusetts, and also in Maine? I never gave it much thought, I just assumed the whole country celebrated Patriot’s Day. When I was watching a vlog post, from my blogger friend Teralyn at Bit of Byrd, I was inspired to write a post about this holiday, because Patriot’s Day is not a public holiday in other parts of the United States.
Our holiday, Patriot’s Day, is the reason why the deadline to file taxes, some years, is extended. Schools, banks, state, county and municipal offices are closed here in Massachusetts. Patriot’s Day is the day that commemorates the April 19, 1775 Battle of Lexington and Concord. It was the first military engagement of the American Revolutionary War. During this time, the colonists living in the thirteen original colonies were growing angry with King George III. He had imposed numerous taxes on the colonies, to help pay for the debt he incurred from the French and Indian War. This had upset the colonists greatly because they had no representation in Parliament for the acts the king was imposing on them. The battle cry began, “No taxation without representation.” In September, 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. Delegates from 12 of the colonies (Georgia did not send delegates) met privately discussing how they should respond to the Intolerable Acts. The King had heard these Patriots were stockpiling muskets, gunpowder, cannons and other provisions. He sent British regulars to Massachusetts, giving them orders to destroy the provisions and capture colonist leaders, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. The colonists had received word weeks before that the regulars were on their way, so they moved much of their supplies before they arrived.The Patriots in Boston, notified the Charlestown Patriots of the route the British regulars would take, by placing a lamp in the Old North Church steeple. “One if by land, two if by sea.” In the meantime, Paul Revere and William Dawes would also send the message themselves, riding on horseback declaring, “The regulars are coming, the regulars are coming.”
The, “…shot heard round the world,” was fired just as the sun was rising in Lexington. It’s not certain who fired first. There is speculation that it did not come from the British regulars or the Minutemen, but a colonist in a nearby tavern. This battle proceeded to Concord. The British regulars received information that the military provisions were hidden somewhere in this town. The Minutemen in Concord had heard of the fighting in Lexington and the shots that were fired. The British were known for fighting in formation, neat rows and columns straight toward their target in an open area. The Minutemen hid behind trees and stonewalls along the route. They shot at the British as they marched along the route. In the end the British suffered terribly, sustaining 73 killed, 174 wounded, and 26 missing. The Patriots listed 49 killed, 39 wounded and 5 missing. The Patriot colonists received a tremendous boost in morale by embarrassing the powerful British army.
This is why Patriot’s Day is celebrated here in Massachusetts. It is the first military engagement that moved us toward our independence from Great Britain. In time, forming these United States of America.
If you live in the United States of America, do you wish your state would commemorate this day as a state holiday?
If you do not live in the United States, is there a day you celebrate your nations history?
Image Citations: Date accessed 4/15/12; Photographer Unknown “Lexington Concord Battle Route” http://www.enotes.com/topic/Battles_of_Lexington_and_Concord “Minuteman Statue Lexington Green” http://www.history.com/topics/massachusetts