Patriots’ Day in the United States Date in the current year: April 15, 2024

Patriots’ Day in the United States Patriots’ Day is observed in several U.S. states on the third Monday in April to commemorate the first battles of the American Revolutionary War (the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Menotomy). The first state to celebrate it was Massachusetts.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought on April 19, 1775 in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. A detachment of 700 British infantrymen was ordered to capture and destroy the military supplies that the Massachusetts militia reportedly stored at Concord. At sunrise on April 19, British troops marched into Lexington, killing 8 militiamen in the ensuing firefight.

The British proceeded on to Concord, where they found and destroyed the supplies. On their return march to Boston, they were confronted by the colonists at the North Bridge, resulting in casualties on both sides. The British were outnumbered and continued their retreat to Boston.

In Menotomy (now Arlington, Massachusetts) they were met by five thousand men from Middlesex and Essex Counties. 40 British soldiers and 25 colonists were killed in the ensuing battle. Although the Battle of Menotomy is less famous than the Battles of Lexington and Concord, it was the first battle of the American Revolutionary War where British soldiers surrendered.

The history of Patriots’ Day commemorating the first battles of the Revolutionary War dates back to 1894, when the Lexington Historical Society suggested that April 19 be observed as Lexington Day. Concord countered that the observance should be named Concord Day. As a compromise, Governor of Massachusetts proclaimed April 19 as Patriots’ Day. The new observance replaced Fast Day (the third Monday in April) as a state public holiday.

In 1907, Maine followed suit and began to celebrate Patriots’ day instead of Fast Day. Both states originally celebrated the holiday on April 19, the actual anniversary of the battles, but moved the celebration to the third Monday of April in 1969 to create a long weekend. It also falls during the spring break in public schools in both states.

Connecticut first celebrated Patriots’ Day as a state holiday in 2018, and North Dakota in 2019. Wisconsin recognizes it as a public school observance day. Patriots’ Day celebration is also encouraged in Florida, although it is not a public holiday there.

Patriots’ Day is commemorated with re-enactments of the battles held in Arlington, Concord and Lexington on the Sunday before the holiday, as well as guided tours of historic houses and other events. The biggest event to be held on Patriots’ Day is the famous Boston Marathon, which has been held annually since 1897 (except for 2020 and 2021 when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), making it the world’s oldest annual marathon.

Patriots’ Day in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Wisconsin should not be confused with the nationwide Patriot Day. The latter is observed annually on September 11 to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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Patriots’ Day in the United States, observances in the United States, Battles of Lexington and Concord, Battle of Menotomy