Saturday, December 31, 2011

Patriots’ Week 2011 – Spanning 235 Years

Every year, the Downtown Trenton Association organizes Patriots’ Week. A week of activities in New Jersey’s capital city to commemorate the monumental events that took place there. The week is timed to coincide with the actual dates of the events from Washington’s Crossing to the Battle of Princeton. Because this year marks the 235th anniversary, there was a special march that followed the Continental Army’s route from the crossing to Trenton.

What was fascinating about this year’s reenactment is how it linked what happened 235 years ago to what America is today. There are few places you can do that. The Battle of Trenton reenactment, which started at the Battle Monument at the top of Board and Warren Streets, followed the same city streets to the Hessian’s barracks that the original battle took.

One priceless memory for me was when a group of women who came out of the beauty shop - their hair in curlers - to investigate the commotion. But it was also poignant. 235 years ago on that very spot, some frightened Trenton family may have been taking cover to avoid getting caught in the conflict.

This was made even more poignant by reports I heard later day that an actual criminal shooting occurred not far from the neighborhood where the reenactment took place. Who we are as a country today is intrinsically tied to our nation’s founding. Yet we still have some way to go to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

I’m not a battle reenactment aficionado. And I know that many prefer to experience reenactments in a historically accurate landscape. But I found having a recreation of this pivotal event in our nation’s founding played out against the backdrop of who we are today to be much more thought-provoking than any reenactment I have seen before.

A list of the 2011 Patriots’ Week events can be found here. If you are looking for something to do between Christmas and New Year’s Day next year, this is well worth it.

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