Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night by someone yelling and racing down your street on horseback. That’s what many people in Massachusetts heard on the night of April 18, 1775. Paul Revere rode from Boston, shouting warnings that British soldiers were on the march. Today in Lexington, Massachusetts, people witness a reenactment of Revere’s legendary ride every year on Patriots’ Day.
Patriots’ Day celebrates the Battle of Lexington and Concord. It was the first battle of the American Revolution. In April 1775, British soldiers marched from Boston, Massachusetts. Their mission was to destroy weapons that rebelling colonists had stored in the town of Concord. Paul Revere, William Dawes, and other riders warned the colonists of the approaching troops. On the morning of April 19, British soldiers and colonists fought in the towns of Lexington and Concord. This marked an early American victory in a war that ended with the United States gaining its independence.
Patriots’ Day is an official state holiday in Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut. It is observed on the third Monday of every April. State and local government offices and public schools in those states are closed for the holiday. Some businesses close as well. This year, the holiday will be observed on April 17.
To celebrate Patriots’ Day, people dress in historical clothes and act out some of the events of April 19, 1775. Riders follow the routes of Revere and Dawes. The towns of Lexington and Concord hold reenactments of the battle. Other towns hold parades and ceremonies.
Patriots’ Day is also the day of the Boston Marathon, the oldest annual marathon in the world. A marathon is a 26.2-mile-long race. The Boston Marathon honors those who marched to victory in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. About 20,000 people run in each year’s race, including many of the best long-distance runners. They come from all over the world to break records and win prizes. Other runners participate to challenge themselves, keep in shape, or raise money for a charity.
What Do You Think? How would you like to celebrate Patriots’ Day?
Photo Credit: Mark Nassal/Alamy Stock Photo