Monday, April 16, 2012

Patriots Day should honor today’s vets too

NOTE: I grew up living in a city North of Boston.  Patriot's Day was always a day to honor our Veterans. It is one of America's few holidays that seems to be celebrated mainly in the New England area and I doubt many children throughout the country today are taught anything about Paul Revere's "ride", or why this is a federal holiday.  A holiday that over the years is celebrated by fewer and fewer Americans.  If you should visit Boston, there are historical "walks" given tourists and you can see places that you read about only in American history books:  ... Bee Sting

Paul Revere's "ride"
By Stephen T. Ayres / As you were saying...
Monday, April 16, 2012 

On this 237th anniversary of the hanging of two lanterns in our steeple lighting the way for Paul Revere to alarm our militia of the approach of British regulars, it is not enough to honor patriots from centuries ago without continuing to support those patriots who serve our country now — the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.

The treatment of our Revolutionary War veterans set the tone for an ambivalent response to veterans throughout American history.

Paul Revere, though a civilian during his famous ride, joined the Massachusetts militia and rose to the rank of colonel. He saw little action apart from supervising Castle Island, except for his participation in a rather unfortunate foray to Castine, Maine. That foray bogged down as senior military officers, including Revere, dithered over military strategy long enough for British reinforcements to arrive. A civilian board unjustly placed the entire blame on Revere, who had to seek a military court martial to clear his name.

While Revere suffered an invisible wound to his pride and reputation, after the war he managed to prosper as a silversmith, shopkeeper, copper smelter and military contractor.

Many of his comrades in arms did not fare as well. The first congressional acts providing veterans benefits in the form of land grants were so circumscribed that few veterans benefited. The first Federal Pension Act to provide assistance to veterans was not passed until 1818.

The Old North Church is proud to honor both patriots past and the new generation of patriots today. As we wind down wars that have lost public support, let us not wind down our support for our soldiers and sailors who have sacrificed their time, their bodies, and their psyches to defend freedom around the world.
Two historic Boston institutions, The Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox [team stats] Foundation, which have collaborated on the Home Base Program, embody the continuing support we all need to show for our returning veterans and their families. The Home Base Program provides clinical and educational support to veterans and their families with invisible wounds from traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress syndrome.

As we honor both Paul Revere and today’s veterans, I pray that each of us can find a tangible way to help those who have served us well and need our continuing support.

The freedoms we enjoy are not free. It is our responsibility to continue to support those who have contributed so much for the liberty and freedom we cherish.

Stephen T. Ayres is the vicar of historic Old North Church. This piece was adapted from his remarks at Sunday night’s lantern lighting ceremony at the church.

Here is a link to Paul Revere's Ride .. go here:

Paul Revere’s Ride: The Patriots Prepare for Battle

On April 16th, 1775, Paul Revere began to gather tips that a raid was planned for the city of Concord in the coming days. In fact, it is speculated that these tips came from General Gage’s wife, an American who may have been sympathetic to the plight of her countrymen. With this intelligence, Revere began making plans to alert the surrounding countryside by horseback that the redcoats would indeed be arriving to ransack their military supplies.

There were two routes that the British soldiers could take: by land through the Boston Neck and by sea across the Charles River. Revere arranged to have a signal lit in the Old North Church – one lantern if the British were coming by land and two lanterns if they were coming by sea – and began to make preparations for his ride to alert the local militias and citizens about the impending attack.

One if by Land, and Two if by Sea