Entries Tagged as ''

On Patriots Day

To explain it to those of you not from New England, Patriots Day commemorates the first shots fired of the American Revolution. The battle took place on Lexington Green. The holiday celebrates the initial step of this country’s independence (given its significance, it’s beyond me why it’s observed only in Massachusetts), but with the century-old introduction of the Boston Marathon and the advent of morning baseball at Fenway, it has come to mean much more, all while still symbolizing the spirit of the holiday.

Patriots Day in Boston heralds the debut of spring, the first extended hello to longer days and warmer climes, pitched against the backdrop of live music and pre-noon beers and tailgate smoke. The improbable angle of the sun that renders strange the familiar confines of Fenway, as if seeing them for the first time. And the hamlets and towns and cities along the marathon route who turn out in force to ceaselessly support runners from all over the world, these competitors whose quest is to test the very limits of themselves as the crowd claps and shouts itself hoarse for hours on end in recognition. At times giving them the strength to keep going. Every last one.

The spectators come to witness and celebrate the very best that humans can endeavor to achieve, this challenging of the self (often done in the name of charity or in the memory of the dearly departed); and they do it to provide the psychic energy that may be required for a lot of these runners to be able to finish. And to feed off that incredible strength of will in return. Ask any marathoner or attendee. Boston is different.

I don’t know who did this. I don’t know if Patriots Day was chosen for its symbolism or simply because the finish line provided the greatest concentration of human targets. But I do know this: on Patriots Day, this town simultaneously gives and receives the best that humanity has to offer, and no single madman can silence or defeat this inherent goodness that we are all privileged to share with one another.