Last wk   Apr 17   Apr 19 Apr 20   Apr 22 Next wk  

April 17, 2006 - Monday
Patriots Day was always my favorite holiday as a kid. I'm not really sure why, but it probably had to do with having the longest, most colorful parade of the year with all the minutemen dressed up in different period costumes and shooting their muskets, as well as other kids getting dressed up like minutemen and marching along with the parade. I was never in the parade itself, but I did dress the part for our annual 7-odd mile walk through the woods to the Old North Bridge along the path that the Carlisle minutemen reputedly took 131 years ago.

These days the historical significance of this day is clearly overshadowed by the Boston Marathon, but it's still a nice parade and today we took the boys to the Old North Bridge to watch the parade and a little history. Harry and I have talked before a little bit about how fighting and wars are bad, but that there are some times when you do just need to stand up and fight for what you think is right or believe in. And while the actually history of the days preceding the Revolutionary War probably aren't quite as black and white as our history makes it out to be, there is a good story there about oppression from a tyrannical British monarchy, taxation without representation, and the desire for colonialist to live freely. That sounds like something worth fighting for. And the origin of our country is a pretty good reason for a parade.

The grounds around the Old North Bridge have changed quite a bit since I came here as a kid, but I'm told by the local park rangers that removing all of the trees actually is more accurate in a historical context. Indeed, it is a lot easier now to imagine a horde of farmers and militia milling around the near side of the bridge while the British Red Coats approached from the far side; to picture them looking at each other over the Concord River, tense and wondering what was to happen next; and then to image the "shot heard round the world" being fired. Or was "the shot" fired in Lexington? It's been a point of contention for these two towns for more than 200 years. Emerson's poem, Concord Hymn, claims it for his home town, but historians can and certainly do argue that the Battle at Lexington Green was the real point of no return for the American Revolution. The real question is whether Emerson coined the phrase or simply used it.

After the parade was over, we all went across the bridge to see the cannons being fired and Harry and I ran ahead to try and get there in time to see it up close. Unfortunately, we missed it and then got separated from mommy and Jeremy in the ensuing melee as the cannons were then marched off by horse cart back into Concord center. Naturally, Harry was a bit alarmed by it as we looked around, but I assured him that it would all work out eventually. I took a couple of pictures of Harry on the Old North Bridge before we finally decided to walk the mile or so back to our car, thinking that mommy must already have headed that way. She had not so we got there first and drove back toward the bridge to find them walking back. They'd gotten about halfway and indeed it did all work out. Apparently they had followed the cannon carts and somehow gone past Harry and me without us seeing each other.

Comments, Opinions?