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Patriots’ Day 2021: a Virtual Revolution

Patriots' Day

A group of re-enactors participate in a parade held on Patriots' Day in Lexington, Mass., April 17, 2017. Patriots’ Day commemorates the opening battle of the American Revolution in 1775. The 2021 holiday will be observed virtually due to Covid-19, with events on social media and cable television. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – During the month of April, the towns surrounding Hanscom AFB celebrate Patriots’ Day, an annual state holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 that kicked off the American Revolutionary War.

The official observance of Patriots’ Day 2021 is April 19. Officials have canceled most in-person events due to COVID-19. However, there are still a number of virtual and socially-distanced events planned that Hanscom personnel can view and/or participate in. Some events are being pre-recorded and will air over the holiday weekend on social media and local-access TV.

For example, the Minuteman National Historical Park recorded their annual Patriot Vigil ceremony March 26. The ceremony consisted of a candlelight procession across the bridge, a musket salute, and a list of the names of the fallen read aloud by local leaders.

“It was a great opportunity to reflect on the significance the day has in New England, and across the broader landscape of the nation,” said Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, who participated in the ceremony. “They shaped history and set the foundation for what we could become. And we’re continuing to shape the landscape and spread the ideas of equality and what the inclusion of a diverse people can bring.”

The Bedford Minutemen likewise recorded a video at the North Bridge March 20.

“The video greeting will be included in Concord’s virtual parade,” said Chuck Hacala, captain of the Bedford Minuteman Company. “We’ll be placing a wreath at Wilson Park in Bedford on April 19 before marching to Concord to commemorate the Battle of Concord and the loss of our captain, Jonathon Willson, on that fateful day.”

The following is a sampling of some of the events taking place around the area. For further information or changes to programs, visit the Minute Man National Historical Park website at https://www.nps.gov/mima/planyourvisit/calendar.htm, the Town of Lexington’s website at https://www.lexingtonma.gov/patriots-day-lexington/pages/2021-patriots-day-weekend-schedule, and Minuteman Media Network at minuteman.media. Programs will be available on local cable stations 8, 9, and 99.

Before & During Patriots’ Day Weekend
Patriots Point Walk: Miles and Smiles Contest

Accumulate as many miles as you can while you walk, run or bike to the historic monuments associated with Patriots’ Day. Take smile photos at each landmark and upload them and your miles to compete for prizes. Register online at http://caal-ma.org/patriot-points-walk/ to receive rules, instructions, and a map of historical locations. (Note: link may not work from a .mil address when connected to VPN). 

Monday, April 12 – Wednesday, April 15
Town Celebrations Committee and Cary Library Historic Zoom Seminars
The Cary Memorial Library, along with the Lexington Town Celebrations Committee, are presenting three virtual seminars on Zoom: “They Were Good Soldiers: The role of African-Americans in the Regiments of the Continental Army,” “I am a daughter of liberty: Women in the American Struggle for Independence,” and “Voices of 1775.” Advanced registration is required to participate. Register at https://www.libraryinsight.com/eventdetails.asp?jx=gx&lmx=%CF%60c%26%AD%AAt&v=3.

Saturday, April 17 – Monday, April 19
National Park Service Social Media Presentations
The Minuteman National Historic Park is conducting a number of virtual/digital events over the holiday weekend via their official Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels. Programs include: The Minute Men: Neighbors in Arms, The British Light Infantry, and Revolution in Real Time: Follow the Action! Additional information at https://www.nps.gov/mima/planyourvisit/calendar.htm.

Saturday, April 17
Lexington Minutemen and the Lexington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Zoom Webinars
Members of the Lexington Minutemen and Lexington DAR are conducting three presentations on the American Revolution. Advanced registration is required to participate. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Gt6S5KOUQ7iboOtsDFe8WA.  

Sunday, April 18
The Patriot Vigil
Minuteman National Historic Park is partnering with the April 19th History Coalition to conduct a tribute to the patriots who lost their lives on April 19th, 1775. This pre-recorded ceremony was conducted at the North Bridge battlefield. The ceremony consisted of a candlelight procession across the bridge, a musket salute, and a list of the names of the fallen read aloud by local leaders. For more information and the links to the video, go to https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?id=C8AB0435-AB4A-EBD7-B31FD39E8B6D3AA0

Monday, April 19
Lexington’s Patriots’ Day on Parade: An Online Program
Lexington has canceled its annual Patriot’s Day parade, but will broadcast an online production, with history and videos of past parades and other community events. For more information, go to https://www.lexingtonma.gov/patriots-day-lexington/pages/2021-patriots-day-weekend-schedule.