It’s Patriot’S Day in Massachusetts, Maine … and Wisconsin?

North Bridge at sunset, April 2021

“The thunderbolt falls on an inch of ground; but the light of it fills the horizon.” – Ralph Waldon Emerson

As any good Mainer or Massachusettsian (?) can tell you, today is Patriot’s Day, a state holiday commemorating the events of April 19, 1775, when the shot was heard ’round the world. Those shots (not singular) were popularly known as happening in Concord (thanks, Mr. Emerson, for confusing us all) but the first shots were in Lexington where eight lives were lost.

The Owl is unable to write this up any better than Mass Moments does, and it’s a great read for those of you who have forgotten the details from your 8th-grade civics class. If you live close by, a visit to Concord’s North Bridge is magical–not only because of the history of the site but also the beautiful winding river and old trees. It makes you wonder what it must have all felt like 246 years ago. Not so great, I bet.

The saddest sign ever created. North Bridge. Sorry, Brits.

Most Patriot’s Day events are online this year, and you can watch some great videos — please see here. The marathon, which has nothing to do with Minutemen, has been delayed until October.

While Maine (which was a part of Massachusetts until they got tired of our driving style) and Massachusetts celebrate a state holiday with state and local offices closed today, no other state levels up like this. In a nod to randomness, Wisconsin celebrates the day not with a state holiday, but a “special observance day” when schools are required to teach about the events of the day. In 2018, Connecticut became the fourth state to officially recognize Patriot’s Day as a holiday.

Massachusetts only began recognizing the holiday in 1894, when it replaced “Fast Day” with Patriot’s Day. Seriously, who was against giving up Fast Day? Sounds like a bummer. Maine joined the party in 1907, also replacing its Fast Day. Connecticut replaced nothing, and who knows what Wisconsin is really up to.

In summary, go take a trip to North Bridge in Concord (now part of the Minuteman National Park) sometime. It’s magical, especially at sunrise and sunset.

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