The Salem News
---- — To the editor:
On April 15, we will celebrate Patriots Day. The actual holiday was April 18, but most holidays were moved to the Monday nearest to them for the convenience of keeping them on a weekend. Armistice Day has been returned to Nov. 11, because the armistice ending World War I was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day.
Patriots Day is indigenous to Massachusetts because that is where the men of Massachusetts united in their conflict against England in their fight for independence. Longfellow recorded the famous ride of Paul Revere who rode his horse through the villages warning the patriots of the imminent approach of the British to quell the rebellion. It started our war for independence, which meant six years of death and privation, but resulted in our independence.
Why then did it become a media blitz of a road race where people run en masse in all types of weather over a 26-mile course to compete for a winner? The marathon has mushroomed into a worldwide event, and the winner is someone from a Third World country to whom running is a way of life. Last year, the race was canceled because the temperature was so high that it would have resulted in death rather than exhaustion.
Patriots Day is not a national holiday, but it should be because the true meaning resulted in our freedom that is constantly being whittled away by today’s society. Years ago, history and geography were replaced in the school system by social studies. So how many of our schoolchildren have any inkling of what this holiday is all about?
We have depended on our leaders to defend us and our heritage. Were we naive?
Dorothy V. Gregory