Monday, April 18, 2016

Patriots' Day on Cambridge Common, 2016

The annual Patriots' Day celebration on Cambridge Common is one of the great New England traditions. It remembers the night of April 19, 1775 when Paul Revere and his fellow patriot William Dawes rode out from Boston to warn the surrounding towns that the British were indeed coming.

Revere, with some help from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, has been firmly etched in our hearts and minds as a national legend, but Dawes, who took all the same risks, never got the same fame. Not so to Cantabrigians. Every year, they assemble on the Cambridge Common to remember this woe-betided man of history and they do so with a wonderful mix of Massachusetts irony along with a genuine appreciation of the momentous events that took place on these grounds over 240 years ago.

Here is a short video of Dawes' arrival from this morning's event, followed by some photos.

The horses arrive ...

And some photos ...

Minutemen (and a biker)

The Mayor speaks

A young participant

Major Dawes talks to mayor

And just for good measure, here are the first two stanzas of Paul Revere's Ride by Longfellow.

Listen, my children, and you shall hear 
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive 
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,

For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”