Monday, April 20, is Patriots Day, a state holiday marking the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord that began the American Revolution. The day has been celebrated on the third Monday in April since 1969.
It was on the morning of April 20, 1775, that Paul Revere and other riders began the alert across and beyond Massachusetts Colony that troops were planning to advance from Boston to the towns of Lexington and Concord. They were to seize a cache of gunpowder and arms and capture revolutionaries Sam Adams and John Hancock.
(Local legend claims that Israel Bissell, later of Hinsdale, rode all the way to Philadelphia, but most historians dismiss it.)
Previous attempts to capture munitions depots from the increasingly belligerent colonials had failed, so Lt. Col. Francis Smith led some 700 British regulars on what was supposed to be a secret mission against the nearby towns. Colonial spies were aware of the expedition and some local militia was mustered on the Lexington green the night before.
Whether it was a colonial or soldier who fired "the shot heard round the world" on Lexington green is unknown. However, word spread quickly that shots had been fired at Lexington and more colonials headed to Concord. The army took the town but came under fire at North Bridge and beat an ignomious retreat to Boston.
Adams and Hancock evaded capture and much of the arms had been scattered to surrounding towns long before the army arrived. As reports of the events spread throughout the colonies, supplies and reinforcements, including George Washington, began arriving to relieve Boston. A year later, the British army would leave on March 17; the event is commemorated in Suffolk County as Evacuation Day.
Patriots Day is also known as "Marathon Monday" because the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon, has traditionally been run on that day. This year will be the 119th race and more than 30,000 have registered to run; about a million spectators will line the 26-mile race course. A tribute event was held on the 15th, One Boston Day, to mark the second anniversary of the marathon bombing.
The Red Sox will be at Fenway playing the Baltimore Orioles but in the Berkshires, it will be a day for Patriots fans. The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown is offering free admission to anyone displaying their loyalty to the New England Patriots, or the Seattle Seahawks, to celebrate its win in the #MuseumBowl that netted the museum a temporary piece of fine art from the Seattle Art Museum, the 1870 "Puget Sound."
Municipal, county and state offices
Public schools; it marks the first day of spring vacation
Public colleges, including MCLA and BCC
BRTA operating on regular schedule
Restaurants, bars, convenience stores, supermarkets, retail stores, liquor stores
Banks may open if they wish; all markets are open
Federal offices open: mail is delivered