Today is Patriots Day across most of New England and it’s one of the coolest days to be a Bostonian, even if you don’t live there anymore.
It’s a state holiday in Massachusetts and, I’m pretty certain, Maine. Not quite sure about the other four New England States. What’s up, Rhode Island?
Patriots Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord which of course, kicked off the Revolutionary War, and it’s also the day when thousands of runners tackle one of the toughest courses in the country – the Boston Marathon.
Today, I’m catching highlights on Twitter, but back in the 70s and 80s, I remember watching the Marathon live on TV (Channel 5, to be exact. With Natalie Jacobsen and Chet Curtis anchoring) and hearing familiar names like Bill Rodgers, from my hometown (did he live there? train there? grow up there? not sure). And goodness. Joan Benoit – a woman who seemed to defy conventional female athleticism then and apparently now, as per my Google search just a moment ago to see what she’s been up to.
Patriots Day was always a school holiday and it usually fell during school vacation. (The battle date is April 19, but the day is always observed on the third Monday in April.) One year, I spent the day at a friend’s house. Her father was a mailman, so I remember he was off work. I was in fourth grade and my friend and I sat coloring in the living room nibbling on iced oatmeal cookies and apple juice while the TV, with antennae positioned just so, was tuned to the race. I remember hearing the reporters’ voices over the cheering crowds, gleefully announcing names (usually Kenyan) of those finishing in the first spots. And I remember hearing about Heartbreak Hill and watching the agony on runners’ faces as they faced this daunting challenge in an already grueling race. For a kid watching on TV, it was always a pretty exciting day.
And of course, just a few years ago, I remember being at home working and suddenly seeing my Twitter feed light up with news of a bombing. Suddenly this annual hometown tradition was thrust into the world spotlight, as I tuned to CNN to fill in the gaps and put images to the words I read on social media.
It was a horrible day, but the spirit and resilience of the city shone brightly in the days, weeks, and now years that followed.
Today, in Delaware, I caught the highlights on social media as usual, and I couldn’t help but notice it’s a bright, sunny day for the runners. Happy Patriots Day, Boston.
This post is part of #MicroBlogMondays. Head over to Stirrup Queens to find out more.