Due to COVID-19, Lexington and Concord are hosting few live events to observe Patriots Day this year. But local organizers of the annual activities commemorating the historic battles of April 19, 1775 are offering the public plenty of other opportunities to mark the day.
Among the live events that have been canceled due to the pandemic are the historic reenactment of the Battle of Lexington that traditionally takes place on the town green and parades in both towns, all of which would have been held on Monday, April 19.
Also canceled is Concord’s Dawn Salute ceremony usually held on Patriots Day at the North Bridge, and the town’s Meriam’s Corner Exercise, a ceremony usually held at that location the weekend before Patriots Day. In addition, the Minuteman National Historical Park is not holding any in-person Patriots Day programming.
But event organizers from the two towns are encouraging the public to watch and participate in other programs, ranging from historical seminars to children’s activities.
“We decided to have a Patriots Day season,” said Linda Dixon, a member of Lexington’s town celebrations committee. “Rather than focus on one day we started a month ago. We also wanted to see if we could involve families because we don’t have a parade this year.”
One of those town-organized programs is a competition in which participants are invited to walk or bike to the many Patriots Day-related monuments in town. Prizes will be awarded for the most miles traveled, most creative travel routes, and best photos. Another contest invites residents to decorate their front doors with patriotic themes, with prizes for the best displays. The town is also presenting Zoom seminars on various Revolutionary War topics.
On Monday, Lexington is presenting a program on its LexMedia cable station featuring short video performances by many of the marching units that usually participate in its parade, and photos of the parade through the years. Also that day, the Lions Club plans a memorial ceremony at the USS Lexington Memorial, the Hancock Church presents a handbell concert, and The First Parish Church in Lexington offers a talk on the events of April 19, 1775, all virtual.
In place of its parade, Concord is presenting a virtual program featuring footage from past parades and video clips contributed by bands and others that would have marched this year. The program will air throughout its Minuteman Media cable station and the station’s website.
The Minute Man park on Sunday and Monday will premier “Voices of 1775,” a series of videos featuring volunteers, reenactors, and park staff portraying the people who witnessed the events of April 19, 1775. The videos are part of the digital programming the park created with local organizations to connect the public with that historic day, according to Jennifer Pierce, visitor services manager. All the programming is available at nps.gov/mima.
The Lexington Historical Society is inviting members of the public to a virtual event on Monday to watch its award-winning documentary, “First Shot! The Day the Revolution Began,” chat with Revolutionary War reenactors about the history behind the battle, and enjoy a performance of Colonial music.
Concord Museum, which this month is showcasing a new permanent exhibit, “April 19, 1775,” is inviting the public in person Monday to see a historical reenactment of the Acton Minutemen on its lawn. The museum also is hosting in-person Revolutionary War-inspired drop-in activities in its courtyard. Visitors also can register in advance for a short in-person walk from the Wright Tavern to North Bridge.
John Laidler can be reached at email@example.com.