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Monthly History Highlights
April 10, 1872 - Arbor Day
“Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future.”
These are the words of J. Sterling Morton, the creator of Arbor Day. He was among the many pioneers moving westward into the Nebraska Territory in 1854. With the decided lack of trees on the Nebraskan plains, Morton made it his cause to plant trees, not just for beautification but also to preserve the soil. He encouraged civic organizations to join in the effort, proclaiming the first Arbor Day in 1872.
By 1885, Arbor Day was officially observed by the entire state and then by other states and schools nationwide. Today, the most common date for the state observances is the last Friday in April, although many states celebrate it whenever conditions there are best for planting trees. This year, National Arbor Day takes place on Friday, April 30, 2021. On this day, consider planting a tree, picking up litter, or taking part in another activity that benefits the natural world!
April 19, 1775 – Patriots Day
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, from “Concord Hymn”
Patriots Day commemorates the events of April 19, 1775, that marked the start of the American Revolutionary War, especially the midnight rides of Paul Revere and others to warn of approaching British troops, and the battles of Lexington and Concord. Today, Massachusetts and Maine celebrate Patriots Day as a legal holiday on the third Monday in April, with reenactments and other events.
On the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode from Boston to the nearby town of Lexington in order to warn that British troops were on their way to seize Colonial military supplies and that the local militia should be mobilized. Revere set out on horseback, reaching his destination just after midnight and successfully delivering his message. Shortly thereafter, in the early morning hours of April 19, the first battles of the Revolutionary War began, as British troops and the Colonial militia fought in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.