Letter: A solution in search of a problem

April 6, 2023

The Public Ceremonies and Celebrations Committee has new criteria to determine what groups can march in the Patriots Day parade. Where did these criteria come from? They disallow suitable civic groups and all but invite unsuitable groups. 

The Committee’s website says, “The theme and purpose of the Patriots’ Day parade is to commemorate the events that took place in Concord on April 19, 1775, the beginning of a war in which former British subjects fought and died to give us the gift of the freedom and independence we enjoy today.” 

The PCCC should be more inclusive and allow civic organizations that exemplify the “freedom and independence we enjoy today” such as ConcordCAN, the Sunshine Movement, Reclaim Our Democracy, 350.org, and Concord Indivisible which have all marched in the past. Instead, they allow only marching bands, re-enactors of various wars, service and youth organizations, Concord boards and committees, etc. 

The PCCC should protect Concord from unsuitable groups who might apply to march by having a provision allowing it to judge the merits of groups not explicitly named in the criteria; it is impossible to set up a criterion for every possible group that might apply. Criterion 11 which invites re-enactors of the “American Revolution and Civil War, and participation in WWI and WWII, etc.” to apply could allow Confederate and Nazi reenactors.

The Patriots Day parade belongs to each of us. It is a celebration of the fruits of freedom hard fought in 1775 in which we express the civic engagement that knits together our social fabric.

The PCCC allowed cursory public comment after the current criteria were written but it should start anew and develop more inclusive criteria that protect our parade in a series of open meetings with real public input.

Janet Rothrock

Annursnac Hill Road