Wednesday, March 17, 2010
"Boston" --St. Patrick
Did you know that Boston was the first city in America to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a parade? That's right, 1737. One version of the story is that on March 17th, some of the drinking in the taverns spilled over into the streets. Sounds plausible to me.
And then when the British troops occupied Boston around 1760, the Irish regiments
celebrated St. Patrick's Day with marching, feasting, and dancing. On March 17, 1775, 70 Redcoats, paraded through the streets of Boston in regimental form.
But then the revolution happened. After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, British troops had retreated to Boston where the Continental Army held them besieged for 11 months. But Washington's troops had positioned cannon on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city. The British would occupy Boston for only a few more days because they could see they would lose that battle. And you know what? They never returned.
Washington was well aware that the liberation of Boston occurred on St. Patrick's Day. A number of the men on his command staff were of Irish descent. The General Orders he issued that day specified that anyone wishing to pass through Continental lines would give the password "Boston," to which the reply would be "St. Patrick." It is said that as the British troops departed, an American band played "St. Patrick's Day in the Morning."
h/t to Fr. Gabriel, who told this story at Mass this morning. h/t to Mass Moments, which is probably where Father got his info. ;-)