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SOME FACTS AND HISTORY ABOUT PATRIOT'S DAY

     Patriot's Day commemorates the acts of a few famous, and many unknown Americans who gave their lives in the very early years of our nations history. On April 18th, 1775, the British Army in Massachusetts was poised to enter several towns to destroy supplies and break up all colonial rebels, including taking key leaders prisoner, including Samuel Adams and John Hancock. By luck, a doctor Joseph Warren, overheard the plans of General Thomas Gage (Commander and Chief of the Massachusetts Bay Colony) to Lt. Col. Francis Smith and spread the word to the rebels.

     Seven hundred armed soldiers, under the leadership of Smith left Boston on the night of April 18th.  The signal was given and Paul Revere and Henry Dawes (a great trivia question) were sent to warn the colonists.  Paul Revere then made his historic sixteen-mile midnight ride throughout the Boston countryside (from the Olde North Church in Boston to Lexington) to warn the colonists.  Their warnings allowed the colonists to organize in time (they became known as the "minute men") to meet the unsuspecting British Army on the morning of April 19th. The battles of Lexington and Concord were then fought, and if not for some luck, and the bravery of our forefathers, the Revolutionary War would have come to an end before it even began.

     This act of aggression by the British led the Continental Congress to declare war the following month (May 15th) and appoint George Washington as the Commander and Chief of the army.

     To commemorate the great deeds of Revere, Dawes, and the rest of our revolutionary forefathers, April 19th has been dedicated as Patriot's Day.  Although officially a state holiday only in Massachusetts and Maine (it is also a school observance day in Wisconsin), all Americans are tied in someway to this holiday.

GIFT IDEAS FOR PATRIOT'S DAY

Patriots Day is not a traditional gift giving holiday. However, gift given for or on this day should have a Patriotic or Colonial theme.

Patriot's Day Gift Ideas:

  • Travel to Massachusetts

  • Antique from the Revolutionary period

  • Patriotic Mug or other gift item

ARTICLES AND WEBSITES ABOUT PATRIOT'S DAY

Patriot's Day Origin, History & Facts

Patriot's Day (Holiday Origins): Origins of the holiday with related links.

Patriot's Day (Sunnie Bunnie): Patriot's Day facts and information - including games, poetry & puzzles.

Patriot's Day (NOBLE): Information and links on Patriot's Day in Massachusetts and Main.

Patriot's Day (Neighborhoods.net): Information and many related links about Patriot's day and its origins.

Patriot’s Day (Wikipedia.org): Information about the holiday.

Patriot's Day in Boston (About.com): Information and links on the Patriot's Day festivities.

 

Paul Revere

[Note: The original purpose of Paul Revere’s ride was not to warn colonists that the “British were coming!” but more specifically to warn Hancock and Adams.  [Note: He probably cried out “The Regulars are coming!” since they thought of themselves as still being British at that time.] After that task was done, he and William Dawes (who has been pushed aside by history) who was also sent to Hancock and Adams for the same purpose, on their own accord rode around the countryside warning its inhabitants of the coming British army.] Along the way, Dr. Samuel Prescott also joined in giving the alarm. Their effort was a success and 500 colonists confronted the British on their way back to Boston.

Paul Revere (Early America.com): A Flash presentation on the life and accomplishments of Paul Revere.

Paul Revere Virtual Museum (CVESD.K12.ca.us): A virtual teaching tool on Paul Revere and his famous ride.

Paul Revere House (PaulRevereHouse.org): Tourist information and times about the house Paul Revere lived in – with information about the life and times of Revere.

Revere Speaks (American Revolution.com): His story in his own words.

 

Boston

City of Boston (offical site): Information on the City of Boston.

Boston.com (Boston.com): 24 hour news coverage of everything that is going on in the city of Boston.

BostonUSA! (BostonUSA.com): Official website of Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau with great information for tourists and visitors of the city.

 

Minute Men

Early America’s Minute-Men (EarlyAmerica.com): Information on the men who were the first to defend this country’s honor.

Minute Man Park (NPS.gov): Information and time schedule for Minute Man Park in Massachusetts, where the “shot heard round the world” was fired to begin the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Who Were the Minutemen? (USHistory.org): An essay on the minute men and how they came about.

Patriot’s Day Events

Battle Road (Battleroad.org): Information on Patriots day events and reenactments.

Boston, MA Events (About.com): An annual calendar of events in Boston, Massachusetts.

Patriot’s Day Battle Reenactment Schedule (BostonCentral.com): Complete schedule of the reenactments in and around Boston.

Patriot’s Day Celebration (Spokane7.com): Presented by the Esther Reed Chapter of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. The program will include a proclamation from the mayor's office and will celebrate the contributions of early patriots.

Patriot’s Day Celebrations (ISTC.org): A listing of Patriot’s Day events and info on student travel information and discounts.

Patriot’s Day Events (NationalLancers.com): Information on reenactments and some history about Paul Revere’s ride.

Patriot’s Day Parade (town.Arlington.ma.us): Information about the Patriot’s Day Parade in Arlington, Massachusetts.

 

Patriot’s Day Activities

How to Celebrate Patriots’ Day (Ehow.com): A list of ideas on how to celebrate Patriot’s Day.

Patriot’s Day Ribbon Stick Craft (FamiliesOnlineMagazine.com): Activities for kids on Patriot’s Day.

 

Multimedia

123Greetings.com (123Greetings.com): Free Patriot’s Day Ecards.

 

Battles of Lexington and Concord

Battle of Lexington & Concord Abstract (WPI): Information on the events that are commemorated by Patriot's Day.

The Battle of Lexington & Concord (ThinkQuest.org): Information and facts about these two revolutionary battles, including maps of each battle.

Lexington and Concord (ThePatriotResource.com): In depth information on the two battles and the events surrounding the events.

 

The Old North Church

Christ Church in the City of Boston (OldNorth.com): Tourist information about the Church (The Olde North Church) that the candles were lit to begin Paul Revere’s ride. “One if by Land, Two if by Sea.”

 

 

Boston Marathon

Boston Athletic Association (BAA.org): Official website of the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is one of the annual events that takes place on Patriot’s Day weekend.

 

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Paul Revere’s Ride

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

 

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

 

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

 

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

 

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

 

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

 

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

 

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

 

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

 

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

 

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

 

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

 

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Concord Hymn

 by Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Note:  Ralph Waldo Emerson composed the Concord Hymm for the dedication of the 
Battle Monument on July 4, 1837 (honoring the minute men of the battles of Concord and Lexington).
The statue was crafted by Daniel Chester French and placed in Concord's Old North Bridge.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
  Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
  And fired the shot heard round the world.
 
The foe long since in silence slept;
  Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
  Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
 
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
  We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
  When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
 
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
  To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
  The shaft we raise to them and thee.

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