Patriots' Day is a state holiday in Massachusetts, marking the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolution the battles of Concord and Lexington in April 1775.
Schools are let out and many families make their way into Boston to watch the Boston Marathon together.
Yesterday the holiday gained another significance yet one more date of a terrorist attack on American soil.
The two bombs that went off yesterday near the finish line of the marathon were crude but designed to do the maximum amount of damage to human flesh. Reports say the bombs were packed with ball bearings acting as shrapnel.
As of this writing, it is not known who the terrorist or terrorists were. It is not known if it was a foreign or domestic plot. To the innocent spectators who became the bombs' victims, it doesn't matter.
At least one child is among the initial fatalities. There are more than 130 people being treated at hospitals for injuries sustained in the blasts.
Attacks like this one are the acts of cowards, of course. The heartless slaughter and maiming of civilians protects the perpetrators from facing armed and trained resistance. The ambush of the unarmed is a signature act of one without courage.
All that most of us can do is say a prayer for the victims and their families. We can also hope that officials quickly apprehend and punish - anyone involved in this attack.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.