Meet the Press   |  April 13, 2014

The Meaning of Patriot’s Day in Boston

NBC News' Harry Smith reports on Patriot’s Day in Boston, a holiday with revolutionary roots that has special significance in Boston.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: you can tell a lot by the looks on people's faces. the wounds are not healed, not yet. at the boston public library , there's an exhibit of mementos from the miakeshift memorials that appeared after the marathon bombing last year.

>> it's sad. of it brings back a lot of memories, a lot of, you know, fear, anxiety.

>> the mood is respectful, even sacred.

>> it takes a little while to absorb it, and i think you want to stand here with respect.

>> reporter: up boston street at the forum restaurant, site of the second explosion, manager chris loper says the memories are still fresh.

>> as you look up this street, that's where all the ambulances were coming from that day, so that's the one thing that sets you off a little bit, when the next time you see an ambulance and loud noises coming down that street, you certainly have flashbacks.

>> reporter: the city was violated and on a day the locals regard with no small amount of pride.

>> it hurt us. it hurt patriots day .

>> reporter: the boston marathon is run on patriots day a civic holiday here that people say is the best day of the year in boston . if you're not at the marathon, then you're at the red sox game that starts at 11:00 in the morning. it's a party. it's spring, and it's a holiday unique to boston because of what happened here april 19th , 1775 . it begins at the old north church, one if by land, two if by sea. paul revere 's ride to warn the militias in lexington and concord that the british were on their way. a battle immortalized in emerson's poem. by the bridge that arched the flood, their flag to april's breeze unfurled, here once the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard round the world . it was the beginning of the revolutionary war that re-enactors perform every year with duty to history. here more than a year before the declaration of independence was signed, men were willing to sacrifice everything for an idea, an ideal that would become the united states . as emerson said, a spirit that made those heroes dare to die and leave their children free. we free children are obliged to better remember those days. the marathon attack wasn't just meant for boston . it was aimed at all of us, at who we are, and how we live. so when the race is run this year and the game is played, let's not forget what happened last spring, nor what happened here in 1775 . for "meet the press," harry smith .