May 2012

Massachusetts Celebrates Patriots’ Day

Patriots' Day in Lexington, MassachusettsPatriots' Day in Lexington, Massachusetts

Patriots' Day in Lexington, Massachusetts
Reenactors, dressed as American colonists, gathered on the town green in Lexington to act out the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

With a clatter of horse hooves, Paul Revere rides from Boston, shouting warnings that British soldiers are on the march. Many people know this happened in 1775, but it also happened again in 2012! Every year in Massachusetts, Paul Revere’s famous ride is acted out as part of Patriots’ Day.

Patriots’ Day celebrates the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the first battle of the American Revolution. On April 18, 1775, British soldiers marched from Boston, Massachusetts. Their mission was to destroy weapons that rebellious 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, soldiers and colonists clashed in the towns of Lexington and Concord, beginning the war that would end with America gaining its independence.

Today, Massachusetts and Maine observe Patriots’ Day on the third Monday of every April. No other states observe the day. On Patriots’ Day, state and local government offices and public schools are closed. Some businesses close as well.

To celebrate Patriots’ Day in 2012, people dressed in historical clothes and acted out some of the events of April 19, 1775. Riders followed the routes of Revere and Dawes. The towns of Lexington and Lincoln held reenactments of the fighting. In Concord, after a parade to honor the colonists, a ceremony at the Old North Bridge honored three British soldiers who were killed in the fighting there. Other nearby towns held parades and ceremonies as well.

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. Although the weather was hot, more than 20,000 runners took part in this year’s race. They included many of the best distance runners in the world. Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop from Kenya won the men’s and women’s races this year.

Image credit: ©AP Photo/Robert E. Klein

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Question 1
What does Patriots’ Day celebrate?

Question 2
About how many people took part in the Boston Marathon this year?

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