If you don't live in Massachusetts, you've probably never heard of Patriot's Day, but people here are getting ready. Hotels are at or near capacity, signs to direct the waves of visitors are being posted and anything that doesn't move has been draped in flags or bunting. You see Patriot's Day, the third Monday of April, commemorates the battles at Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775) which started the fighting of the Revolutionary War. It is also the day when the finest long distance runners in the world take on Heartbreak Hill as they compete in the Boston Marathon. The marathon may get more television coverage, but you can imagine which event is considered more important here in Lexington.
Each year that I've lived here I've watched, intrigued by the town's excitement, but unable to share in it. I love living in a place where history remains a part of modern day life; I pass the tavern where the Minutemen awaited the arrival of the Regulars (they didn't call them the British then) on my way to the bank,
and the field where soldiers faced off, is now a place where families play Frisbee and have picnics. But I've never been all that interested in the actual fighting. It's the idea that farmers, blacksmiths and teachers put their lives on the line to right an injustice, which makes my mind swirl and my eyes shine with pride. So I've steered clear of the festivities, unless you consider being woken by musket fire "taking part".
Of course, now that I write a blog where I talk about exploring home and finding the richness close at hand, it feels disingenuous to ignore Patriot's Day. So last Saturday I decided I would walk from one end of Minute Man park to the other and see what draws so many visitors there, not just on Patriot's Day weekend, but throughout the year. The walk, and the park were more than I'd expected.
I'll save the telling of that story for tomorrow.
PS The links in the final paragraph will take you to a schedule of this year's events and an overview of the historic sites of Lexington.