Monday, April 21, 2008

Annual Patriot's Day Post

[First posted here on April 7, 2006]

It's Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts, a legal holiday not familiar to many folks outside the Bay State. It commemorates the Lexington-Concord Battle of 1775. Patriot's Day now means the traditional 11 a.m. Red Sox game, the Boston Marathon, and services and re-enactments in many towns which have companies of volunteer Minutemen who dress up in colonial-era garb and march on their town greens. The Lexington-Concord area has the whole bunch of celebrations, including a local company of the British 10th Regiment of Foot, the soldiers who were among the companies that marched to Concord that day. As a kid growing up in Concord, I always wanted to be one of the Redcoats. My illusions were shattered one day when I was walking down by the post office and saw a lanky Redcoat take off his tall tin hat and squeeze himself into a tiny VW parked by the curb.

Today I actually thought twice before putting up anything about Patriot's Day on the bookstore website, because I've found over the years that in other areas of the country most folks have no idea what Patriot's Day is, and now it sounds a bit like a Bush Administration stunt, or something a militia group would come up with. That annoys the crap out of me. The biggest mistake the Liberals made was to let the Conservatives co-opt Patriotism. What's up with that?

Peope who are upset with the way the country is going these days have got to show everyone that Patriotism does not equal unquestioning support of everything this or that political party does. Show people that you can be Patriotic without checking your brains at the door, and that you can fly a flag proudly without disengaging your brain from all critical thought processes. Liberals and Democrats have to fight back. Fly a flag, for crying out loud. I do every day now. Now that we've got a nice wrap-around porch, on the 4th of July we'll put red-white-and-blue bunting on it too.

The co-opting of Patriotism by a single political party is not healthy for the country. It's time to fight back. Wave your flags, boys!

And happy Patriot's Day!

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

-Concord Hymn, Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, April 19, 1836


Mrs. Chili said...

I'm actually a little sorry that I don't get to celebrate Patriots' Day (moving, as I have, out of the Bay State).

I agree with your assessment of the notion of patriotism, though; we fail to remember that many of the men we revere as patriots were, in their day, considered troublemakers.

I'm wishing we had a few more like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson around today - people who used both words AND actions to strive for a life better than the one being foisted upon them..

AngryMan said...

What's a patriot?

Colonel Colonel said...

Mrs. Chili: Tom Jefferson believed we should have a Revolution every few generations. Maybe it's time.

Angryman: You remember them, they lost the Sooper-Dooper Bowl.

moooooog35 said...

Wait a minute...it's NOT about football?!?

What the Hell am I doing here at Gillette Stadium?!?

Figures. The first time I get a decent parking spot....

pissed off patricia said...

I admit I had no idea of Patriot's day. Thanks for the information. I know what you mean about the flag and all. When someone is looked down on for not wearing a flag pin, you have wonder what the hell happened to our values. The flag is not jewelry, it's a symbol.

Phoebe Fay said...

Happy Patriot's Day, Colonel! And I remain hopeful that we are having a bit a revolution right now.

here today, gone tomorrow said...

Wonderfully said, as always.

Hungry Mother said...

My memory of Lexington/Concord is having a picnic on the side porch of the park HQ back in the 70s. I had my big cooler stacked high with Rolling Rock for my buddy and I. We had a couple of wives and 5 kids between us on a very rainy day, so we had to seek shelter. Only the two guys were happy sloshing beer. Many years later I see that I erred that day in not drinking Sam Adams.

Utah Savage said...

And don't forget to wear you damned lapel pin, which is probably made in China. I think we should all be flying our flags upside down and at half mast.

If this isn't a revolution, I getting my ass to Canada.

Mike said...

Happy Patriot's Day Colonel.

Didn't conservatives steal patriotism back in the 60's? Seems that way to me.

Colonel Colonel said...

Moooog: Wait, stay in the parking lot. Did you bring a beer cooler? we'll be right over with the grill!

PoP: I know what you mean- back in the 60s all "conservatives" bitched constantly about the flag on towels, shirts, etc. Now, unless the flag is on everything in your house, you're unpatriotic.

Phoebe: Bring on the guillotine!

HTGT: many thanks!

HungryMo: Beer in a National park? Ah, it was the 70s... I once got thrown bodily out of the park for by the cops for petitioning gathering without a permit, but that's a story for another day.

Utah: For reason known only to God and the little fishes, we keep getting this catalog from a Chinese manufacturer of, well... crap. Gift shop crap. and half of it is emblazoned with the fucking flag. I'm sure Wal*Farts flags are made in China. The Irony Fairy is laughing all the time e these days.

Mike: The did indeed steal it, but Bush I sold it to China, which I believe means it's up for grabs.

Beach Bum said...

Great post, earlier in the republican campaign I saw a show where Romney was introduced as a great American patriot. While rushing to the bathroom with a sudden upset stomach I couldn't help but wonder how patriotism has gone from men like the founding fathers to blow dried, over hyped men like him. Yeah, we need a hell of another revolution.

Malach the Merciless said...

Happy Pat's Day!

AngryGinger said...

I celebrate Happy Fetuses Day every day.


It's St Georges Day over here but as we're swamped with immigrants no bugger's noticed.....

Cissy Strutt said...

It's ANZAC day tomorrow, the only day it is legal to play two-up. There's also a march of some sort.

Actually what's terrific is that relatives of the veterans march too these days. Though this is not without controversy.

Malicious Intent said...

Watch Fox Sports, NASCAR Pre-race show, 1pm est. They are supposed to show a few pics and mention the walk we had yesterday. I know my friends picture made the cut. Should show my artwork/logo for event too. Yay!
No idea when in that hour it will happen.

Buzzardbilly said...

My Curmy misses having this day off. He often likes to tell of how he would skip the Robert E. Lee's birthday holiday in a southern state in which he worked and make HR let him have Patriots Day instead.

He still defiantly won't wear a seatbelt either because Mass voted against mandatory seatbelts. Is this still so?

Thomas said...

Patriot Day sounds cool.
My students would actually know a bit about the events. Our state test is this week and they know the "Concord Hymn" as well. It shows up on that damned test every year