POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Lest We Forget!

by David Trumbull

March 9, 2007

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

--Rudyard Kipling, 1897

In Boston, America’s passion for Independence is seen, touched, heard, and smelt in our Old State House, the Old South Meeting House, in the steeple of Christ Church in the North End, and in scores of other sites along our Freedom Trail. And lest we forget the individual men and women who have struggled for freedom, we set aside special days of remembrance and observance.

The General Laws of the Commonwealth direct us, every March 5th to the observance of the anniversary of the Boston Massacre, the location of which is marked in the pavement in front of the Old State House. On that day in 1770 Crispus Attucks, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, Samuel Gray and Patrick Carr met heroic deaths as the first martyrs in the cause of American independence.

March 17th is observed statewide --and in Suffolk County as a legal holiday-- as Evacuation Day in commemoration of, as the law reminds us "the first major military victory in the war for American independence, namely, the evacuation of Boston by the British" in 1776. It is also St. Patrick's Day, a coincidence not lost on the large Irish-American population of Boston. In fact, the entire month of March is, by statute, an observance of Irish-American heritage.

On March 15th we are called on to recognize the heroic contribution toward the success of the American Revolution by Peter Francisco, who was born in the Portuguese Azores. March also brings to us Bay Staters the observance, on the 14th, of Slovak Independence Day and, on the 25th, of Greek Independence Day.

March 29th is Vietnam Veterans Day and on the 27th we observe the anniversary of the founding of the Italian American War Veterans of the United States. On that date the governor, in accordance with the law, will issue a proclamation

In recognition of the distinguished patriotic services rendered by the Italian American War Veterans of the United States, and recommending that the day be observed by the people in the display of the flag and by appropriate exercises in the public schools and elsewhere, commemorative of the services and sacrifices of the men of Italian ancestry who fought in defense of the United States.

Information about the Italian American War Veterans of the United States can be found on the organization's website From the time of the Revolutionary War Italian-Americans have served honorably in defense of our nation in every one of America's wars. Honor them on Tuesday, March 27th.