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Patriot's day Observance.

We are prompted to write a little of current history, continuing ‘Creditable to Medford,’ p. 43, Vol. XX. of register, which notes the celebrations now seven years established.

The old-time New England Fast Day had become disregarded when the General Court abolished it and made the anniversary of the first encounters of the Revolution, April 19, a State holiday. It was soon found there was a rivalry between the historic towns of Lexington and Concord, each claiming the naming of the day. Happily, our (then) Governor Greenhalge settled the matter, and wisely, too, by giving the name, ‘Patriot's Day.’ Locally observed in previous years, Lexington and Concord came into prominence by the observances of 1875, the first of the Centennials, probably for both the ‘greatest ever.’ Unlike the day a century before, the weather conditions were unfavorable and dependents on the railroad for conveyance were sadly disappointed. No one had any idea of the crowd that would come—but it came. A Medford-born boy, Thomas Meriam Stetson, was chairman of the day.

President Grant was present, we remember our long perch on a fence looking over the vast crowd to see him riding in the procession. We also saw the erstwhile famous Magoun Battery in all its prestige with the diminutive ‘Swallow’ guns. Since that day every year has noted the influx of visitors to the historic spot on April 19.

On its first occurrence after the legislative enactment it was noted by a ride over the route taken by Revere [p. 32] by a Medford man, Robert L. Sise, who came literally ‘over the bridge into Medford town’ at the midnight hour. Reference this may be found in the Medford

Miss Deborah Hall welcomes Paul Revere. Sergt. Harold I. Austin as Paul Revere, greeted by Miss Hall, a descendant of Capt. Isaac Hall of the Medford Minute-Men. Courtesy Medford Mercury.

Mercury of that time with account of the patriotic decorations and displays; also certain rhymes of more or less interest relating to the historic day. [p. 33]

But in 1917 there came an organized effort to make the occasion worth while and notable in Boston and the other cities and towns along the historic route. The first was certainly ‘creditable to Medford,’ as indeed the later ones have been. In more recent years a second rider personating William Dawes has gone over that other route through Brookline and Cambridge which is ‘8 miles to Boston’ (see milestone at Harvard Square).

The ‘Old North’ or Christ Church still stands, and at the close of a service on the night of April 1 8, a messenger ascends to the steeple and hangs out two lights.

Captain Isaac Hall's house in Medford also still stands, and Mr. Edward Gaffey, its owner and occupant, is glad to open its doors to welcome the personator of Revere. This year he was welcomed in the street by a lineal descendant of the minute-men's captain, Miss Deborah Hall. We are able to present a view of her greeting (by courtesy of the Mercury), thanks to the ever present camera, unknown in that old day and for seventy years later.

The hoof beats of his coal-black steed probably rang louder on the modern High street than did those of Deacon Larkin's mare, but the present Cradock bridge gave not the midnight echo of the ancient one.

The preliminary exercises of the American Legion and flag-raising near the World War Memorial, the decoration of the Revolutionary graves in the ancient graveyard by the ‘Daughters,’ the address by Orator York and the patriotic selection by the Regent were followed by the march to the Captain Hall house. Just a few of the Grand Army men mark time's inroad upon their ranks. Various organizations were represented, but the modern Scouts, both boys and girls, were out in numbers, all awaiting the coming of the new Revere.

Longfellow's poem was recited by Henry Hormel of the High School, and the children's voices swelled out in ‘America the Beautiful.’ We quote a few words from Mayor Coolidge's address:— [p. 34]

There are gathered here today, soldiers, civilians and children. From the soldier and civilian has come response in the past. Today there is a continuing occasion for response of unselfish service in the cause of the common welfare. But it is from the children of today that comes the response of tomorrow. These troops of Scouts, these boys and girls of the community are the patriots of the future. To them the patriots of the past hand on the torch. May they hold it high and keep it flaming.

We are pleased to add to the literature of Medford that written for the occasion (already mentioned) by Mrs. H. Abbie Dearborn, and read by her as Regent of Sarah Bradlee Fulton Chapter, D. A. R.:—

Our heroes.

Medford hills have heard the pipes of peace,
Each spring the birds trill tunes,
Troops of wild flowers heed the call
And take possession of the valleys sweet,
Or on the highlands build their strongholds.

Medford hills have heard the trump of war.
The country roads the measured tread
Of marching foes,
With splash of color red against the fields of green,
The cannon talking death.

The men of Medford leaped,
Roused by the dashing steed
That bore at dawn the rider on to Lexington.
They grasped the flint-lock, sire and son,
No time for words, action alone.
That day might fill a hundred years,
That day another page of history turned,
For untrained yeomen stood to face
The legions of a king.
There independence was proclaimed
That staggered, fell and rose again
For seven long years
Till all the land was free.

Medford hills heard once again the pipes of peace.
This April morn we celebrate
That other fateful April day
When the death angel hovered near
To pick her own immortals, [p. 35]
When roar of battle, clash of steel
Those patriot hearts could not dismay.
Well may the centuries mark the hour
When freedom finds such worshippers.
Lost youth, the dying gaze on April skies,
Pain, groans, heart-aches, and tears forgotten now,
The camps of dead, known and unknown,
We honor in our midst, all this we cry,
Outweighed by liberty for all.

Faithful to serve the nation's need,
Cherish and love what the forefathers gave
That cost them such a noble price.
On Medford hills will sound the pipes of peace.

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