Saturday, April 16, 2016

Patriots' Day 2016

Governor Frederic T. Greenheige, of Massachusetts proclaimed the first celebration of Patriots' Day in 1894, replacing the traditional Fast Day as a public holiday.  It was originally celebrated on April 19th to commemorate the date of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, which initiated the fight for independence from Britain, and the beginning of the Revolutionary War.  Maine, originally part of Massachusetts, replaced the Fast Day in 1907 and established the day as a public holiday.

Today, the holiday may may not hold the same significance in the light of more recent events in our Nation; namely 911. Except for the occasional re-enactments, the Boston Marathon, and here in Portland, the Patriots' Day race, we have a holiday from school and work.  I would, however, like to remember our own Patriots .....

 the men who left home and farm to join in the fight for freedom and whose efforts resulted in the establishment of America as an independent Nation. They are: Lieut. Crispus Graves, Pvt. Simon Davis, Pvt. Joseph Lunt and Pvt. John Sawyer, Jr.

    John Sawyer, Jr. whose memorial marker indicates his service in the War of 1812, also served as a very young man at the Penobscot Expedition during the Revolutionary War.  If readers are interested in knowing more about these men, you will find information about them in earlier postings on this blog.  Their contribution should be celebrated and not forgotten.

     Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Maine's renowned poet, wrote a poem we may remember from our childhood:  The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.  I'd like to include it here.

Longfellow  at the publishing of the poem in 1860 in The Atlantic under the title:The Landlord's Tale, Paul Revere's Ride

     I found some wonderful renditions of the poem on U Tube you might enjoy.  As I read recently, the significance of the poem is not the legendary ride, but the fact that brave men, and the families that supported them, believed in a noble cause and were willing to defend that cause at any cost.

     On July 4, 1837, at the completion of The Battle Monument, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the Concord Hymn which was sung on that day's celebration.

The entire hymn to follow:

     Spring is finally here:  I think!.  The daffodils, planted last fall and the previous autumns at the Grand Trunk Cemetery,  are not yet fully in bloom.  However, next Sunday afternoon, Friends of the Grand Trunk Cemetery and the Portland Girl Scouts will join together for our annual Spring Cleanup of the cemetery.  This is our sixth year and we hope to be joined by neighbors, friends and families in a continued effort to honor those early settlers of the East Deering Village by beautifying and preserving this little remnant of Portland's history.  So is you are so inclined, bring a rake and join us!

     Enjoy your Patriots' Day holiday however you celebrate.  Remember those for whom it is named.

     I came across Mr. David Manchester's speech delivered at the Dedication Ceremony of the memorial stone for Joseph Lunt and thought it appropriate to include here on the celebration of Patriots' Day 2016:  a reflection for the day.

Thank you, also, Lieut. Crispus Graves

This flag was carried in battle by soldiers from New England and
has been placed at the memorial markers of
our Revolutionary War Veterans