In other years, New England would have been consumed with spring buds in gardens and on trees; dawn breaking over Lexington’s Battle Green reenactment; the Bedford Minuteman Company marching from Fitch Tavern to the Patriot’s Day parade in Concord; watching the start of the Boston Marathon, then leaving Fenway in time to see the runners flood through Kenmore Square; and, for the past seven years, honoring Boston Strong.
It may have appeared that Covid-19 put a stop to everything but the blooms, but Patriot’s Day 2020 was celebrated nonetheless.
The Concord Parade was canceled, but two members of the Bedford Minuteman Company departed Willson Park on the morning of April 19 and walked to North Bridge, observing appropriate social distance, except when they stopped briefly to pose for photographs. Just as the Company has done since it was gathered more than 50 years ago.
Bedford’s Department of Public Works was out at dawn on Monday.
They set Bedford flags and the Stars and Stripes in rotation along The Great Road, all the way to Willson Park.
And the First Church parsonage displayed them both.
The Compost Center on Carlisle Road was busy, with residents disposing of yard waste, and storm-downed limbs.
Keeping a sharp eye on the proceedings, the fellow in the DPW truck shared his enthusiasm for the season.
“My favorite time of the year,” he said, “Patriot’s Day and Pole Capping.” He loves getting out early on Pole Capping Saturday to make Bedford Center ready for the re-enactors, having pancakes at First Parish, and watching the parade step off from the Common.
But Patriot’s Day is his benchmark: Getting to Lexington before dawn, especially when his kids were small, to watch the battle on the Green, then heading over to the big parade in Concord. Not this year, he remarked with a twinge of sadness. A gleam in his eye, however, was bright as he spoke. All those memories were alive on instant replay.