Monday, April 4, 2016

PATRIOTS' DAY

There's only one major marathon that dares to hold its event on a Monday.

It has been doing so for 120 years.

The race is the Boston Marathon.

Why Monday?

That easy.

The third Monday of April is Patriots' Day. A holiday celebrated in the states of Massachusetts and Maine (which, in colonial times, was part of Massachusetts). Many businesses are closed, and schools are shut down in honor of this historic day,

Around midnight on April 19, 1776, a force of about 700 British 'Regulars,' some of the finest soldiers in the world at the time, began a march from Boston to the tiny village of Concord, some 20 miles west of the city. Tensions between the British, who occupied the city, and the colonists were tense, and the British believed the locals were storing weapons and ammunition in Concord.

Surrounding towns were warned of the pending arrival of British soldiers by three men: William Dawes, Doctor Samuel Prescott, and Paul Revere. Revere, the most celebrated but least effective of the three, made it only to the village of Lexington before being detained by the British, warning the townsfolk that "The regulars are out."Contrary to popular folklore, he did not say, "The British are coming," because, everyone living in the area was British.

Near dawn, a local militia, about 70 untrained men and boys from the village of Lexington, muskets in hand, attempted to block the road on which the 700 British soldiers approached.

Shots were fired, 8 American colonists were killed and 10 were wounded. The American Revolution had begun.

The British made it to Concord, where the colonists had successfully hidden their cache of weapons and ammo.

As the British attempted to return to Boston, they were attacked by the Concord militia at the North Bridge. On the march back to the city, colonists fought  guerrilla-warfare style, shooting British soldiers from behind trees, rocks, and from barn windows.73 British soldiers were killed and nearly 200 were wounded during the skirmishes.

The war between Great Britain and her American colonies had begun.

The American Revolutionary War would drag on for eight years after these initial battles, The result was the birth of a new nation.

Courage, strength, and incredible dedication were the attributes of the early American Patriots.

They are the same attributes that earn one a place in the field at the Boston Marathon.

It is fitting, then, that the race is held on Patriots' Day.