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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WASHINGTON — The bombings at the Boston Marathon would be horrific on any day, but it is something particularly disturbing that they happened on Patriots’ Day. It’s a holiday celebrated only in Massachusetts and Maine, but it’s my favorite patriotic holiday, for reasons both historical and personal.

President Obama was right when he said Patriots’ Day is “a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation.” Though celebrated on the third Monday in April, the actual Patriots’ Day is April 19. It marks the Battles of Lexington and Concord and “the shot heard ’round the world.” In a sense, it’s our first day as an independent nation, even though we didn’t declare independence until July 4, 1776.

But for many people from Massachusetts, myself included, the day also carries intense personal memories. If I’m honest, my real love is explained by the fact that for several years, my late father and I would catch a Red Sox day-night doubleheader. There was a game in the morning, then we would go out to have lunch and watch the end of the Boston Marathon, and then we’d be back to watch the Red Sox later in the afternoon. Countless families had comparable Patriots’ Day rituals. To celebrate freedom, baseball and the international competition of the marathon all at once was something we could only do in Boston.

At this point, we have no idea who did this. So we don’t know how the significance of Patriots’ Day factored into the decision to commit an act of terror. But it is a horrible defilement of a date treasured by the whole nation, and especially by those of us who have known its joys very personally.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is [email protected]

© 2013, Washington Post Writers Group

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

  • latebloomingrandma

    The 9/11 attacks were designed to be attacks on American power. This attack was an attack on our very freedom. Figuring out if this is an enemy foreign or domestic seems a daunting task. Evil is lurking everywhere. I hope the perpetrators are seeing the acts of heroism and the true American character on display in Boston. Goodness will trump evil.

    • I disagree about the goodness trumpng evil part.
      We need to play by the same rules as the bad guys do, rule # 1, there aren’t any rules.
      GitMo was appauling to me but not any more. We need place like GitMo. I’m not worried about any American not involved in terroristic activities ever ending up there. Even the surviving Boston Bomber isn’t going there but…I sure do like the idea of having a place where you send one of these animals & they peel them like an onion until they squeel.
      Of course this was a forign enemy, don’t expect to hear anything about just WHO was behind it until the bombers are on the way back from turning them into a pile of rubble. Mr. Obama doesn’t work the way you’re used to. he doesn’t blab about it for weeks before hand, he just does it then tells US.
      I like tha man, really I do.