Patriot’s Day

Saturday was my favorite holiday, and today I’ll be at the official parade.  I remember several years ago when the push was made to move Concord’s Patriot’s Day parade to the Monday holiday, rather than hold the parade on the 19th regardless of the day of the week.  I was sad when that switch was made, and I know I’m not alone.  Certain events are still held on the actual holiday, like the Patriot’s Ball and the Dawn Salute near the Old North Bridge, and I think the Sudbury Minutemen still insist on making the trek to Concord on the 19th (which means that they miss the parade most years, which is a shame, because they’re a fun-loving crew and add a lot to the parade). 

I missed the Dawn Salute this year, due to my total inability to haul my butt out of bed and into my car at 5:15 AM, and I’m sad about that.  Though it’s cold and painfully early, it’s the best part of an awesome holiday, especially when Prescott rides his horse across the bridge while yelling “The Regulars are coming!  The Regulars are coming!”  Sends chills up my spine every time.  And I love that not too many people attend the Dawn Salute; only the truly dedicated show up. 

But today’s parade comes in a close second to the Dawn Salute.  Concord’s parade (unlike arch-rival Lexington’s parade) is very homegrown and unadorned.  There are great marching bands, but no floats; lots of people dressed in period-appropriate costumes, but no one in clown suits.  My favorite part of the parade is the unit from the Concord Independent Battery.  I love to hang out at the Old Manse during the ceremony at the Old North Bridge, because the Battery’s horses rest there before the last leg of the parade.  There are some lovely little saddle horses (I watch out for one palomino in particular each year), but the heavy horses are my absolute favorites.  They are awesome – there’s something about being in the same space as those huge and beautiful horses that takes my breath away.  And each year, when I develop my roll of film from the parade, most of the photos end up being shots of the horses at rest at the Old Manse and running the final run down Main Street.

Which, of course, is the best part of the best day of the year:  standing at the head of Main Street (selfishly, I won’t give away the prime viewing spot) and watching while the Battery holds back at the rear of the parade, allowing space to grow between them and the unit in front of them.  Then the signal is given, and those fantastic heavy horses take off at a run down the street, hauling the heavy cannons in grand style.  For me, it’s the best thrill of the year.

Happy Patriot’s Day, everyone. 

2 thoughts on “Patriot’s Day”

  1. Clydesdales? No, I don’t think so. What coloration of mane/coat/tail? Oh, i so wish i could have been there!!!

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