Shots heard round the world
[Reposted from a year ago, but whatever.]
When I first moved to Massachusetts, I was pleased to see that they have official observance of a holiday that, afaik, no other state, nor the feds, seem to recognize: Patriot's Day, which commemorates (even if doesn't always fall on) April 19th. April 19th of 1775, in case you didn't recall, was the battles of Concord and Lexington, the date many use as the actual start of the War for Independence, aka the Revolutionary War. I've toured the Concord battle site a couple times, and it never fails to elicit a little misting up around the eyes. I can't help but be impressed with the guts it must have taken for the colonists to have not only decided they'd had enough of British oppression, but that they were going to do something about it - and then to face fire from actual British troops. Impressive, amazing. Just as we commemorate July 4th, I think it's important to commemorate April 19th. A lot of things about Mass. may irk me, but I'm glad they celebrate this here.
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Lester Hunt - 4/20/2009
Such celebrations have at least two purposes, both of which are worth serving and neither of which is frustrated by the possibility that most people don't, as it were, get it. First, they can serve for personal inspiration and renewal. I love the holy day of Passover because to me it is all about freedom and slavery. For some people, I suppose, it's about how God will smack your enemies down if they get too far out of line. Should I care? Secondly, celebrations are like texts that we can interpret and deliver homilies about. As we are doing now.
RL - 4/20/2009
It is less, I think, a matter of disagreement than a matter of emphasis. You seem to believe that these celebrations lead people to remember the proper political principles upon which the Revolution was founded. And in your hands, that is likely what your children learn from the celebration.
But that isn't what most learn. July 4th is not a time most re-read the Declaration, let alone think about its meaning. It is a time of hot dogs, shouts of "USA is #1" and gratitude we are "so free" because of "our government". Yet you and I both know, Aeon, that our government represses us much more than George III ever did the colonists.
William Marina - 4/20/2009
I agree about the importance of celebrating some significant events, and the American Revolution is certainly one of those, but it is also important to get the facts about it, perhaps more importantly, the perspective, or interpretation, largely correct.
Have we done this with respect to our own Revolution? I rather think that on the whole, we have been sadly lacking.
I have written over half a dozen articles, some rather lengthy, seeking to point this out, starting with the "Minority Myth," which since at least 1902 has literally "infested" hundreds of American school books.
I could go on, but it would take a small book to cover the subject properly. But, "Yes," by all means celebrate the "Minute Men," and the Militia, but also an early Revolution that had an Imperial bloc in the coalition from the beginning, and has now, globally, turned Counter-Revolutionary, which is why the US now finds itself facing a number of Insurgencies, and, in which, we seek to use the tactics of Counter-insurgency, rather than deal with ideas, philosophy and worldviews.
One might well ask, "What ever happened to the first, and real, American Revolution?
Aeon J. Skoble - 4/20/2009
I disagree. Some things are worth remembering, commemorating, and telling stories to our children about. The Revolution is among them.
RL - 4/19/2009
Celebrations, Aeon, are little things. On July 4th, we celebrate that we are free. At April 15th Tax Parties, we celebrate our anger at the government. On April 19th in Massachusetts, they celebrate the noble Patriots whose actions make us free people today. In each case it is a time of merriment and burgers, gladhanding and beer. It resembles nothing more than bread and circuses, as our empire expands and our freedoms wane.
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