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By Scott Roberto / March 27, 12:00 AM
History Comes to Life
Photo: Kristin Basnett Photography/National Park Service


A holiday in Massachusetts since 1894, Patriots’ Day is an annual celebration of the very beginning of the American Revolution, which had its origin at the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Marked this year on April 15, the day has long been associated with the Boston Marathon, yet there is still plenty of revelry both before and after that date in which history buffs can participate. In Boston on April 11, the annual Lanterns & Luminaries fundraiser takes place at the Old North Church—site of the signal lantern placement that spurred Paul Revere’s famous ride—from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Expect festive music, a reading of Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” a lantern lighting, refreshments and a keynote address by Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell, the first female commander of historic naval ship the U.S.S. Constitution. Other highlights are centered in the suburban communities in which the pivotal skirmishes took place 249 years ago, particularly at Minute Man National Historical Park (pictured). Patriots’ Day-related events take place there April 6–19, including the North Bridge Fight Commemoration on April 15 at 8:30 a.m., which re-creates the conflict that produced the so-called “shot heard round the world,”; the Battle Road Anniversary Hike later that day from 12:30–5:30 p.m., which consists of a four-mile guided walk along the path taken by British troops that fateful day in 1775; and the Patriot Vigil on April 18 from 7:45–9 p.m., a lantern-lit procession which honors those who lost their lives in the battle. Other area happenings are sponsored by the Lexington Historical Society, which hosts a Paul Revere’s Ride Reenactment at the Hancock-Clarke House beginning at 11:30 p.m., as well as a slew of more family-friendly get-togethers from April 13–20.

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