Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Yesterday was not only Saint Patrick’s Day, and the day Tom Brady said goodbye to New England, it was also the anniversary of Evacuation Day - the day a mortal enemy released what seemed to be a never-ending grip on Boston.
Today, we face another enemy, an invisible and insidious global caustic agent that must be defeated. The coronavirus, and the infectious disease that it seeds, unfortunately now lives in the lungs and the very breath of hundreds of thousands of souls.
The siege of Boston ended March 17, 1776, as a direct result of the skill, tenacity, and ingenuity of our citizens, several of whom would later lay the foundations of the government that this great nation is built on. They did not act alone, the path to victory began with the engagement and efforts of all people, young and old, male and female and of all colors and faiths. Our nation exists today because Massachusetts citizens could envision a day when freedom and the pursuit of happiness could be realized and they committed their wealth, labor and talents to make it so.
That spirit of Massachusetts lives on in every corner of this Commonwealth. In so many significant ways Massachusetts leads the way, the oldest constitution of any government in the world, the first public schools in America, the oldest fishing harbor in the nation, world-class life sciences and medical systems and so much more. To combat the spread of cholera, Paul Revere established the first Public Health Department in 1799. Dorchester, the location where General George Washington and General Henry Knox placed the artillery that freed the city giving us Evacuation Day, will now be the home of the nation’s first dedicated care center for patients with COVID-19.
Our history is known to the world, our strengths, expressed in so many facets of our day-to-day lives, are evident - we have a great capacity to self-govern, we have the boundless energy of community leaders, we have active and intelligent residence who care deeply about all the people in their community, we have great champions from industry and labor and finance and medicine and academia, and importantly, we have YOU.
You are now learning about this virus and how to slow its spread. By acting on what you know, and using the great care and compassion we are known for, we can commit this enemy to the ashes. Everyone has a role and we share a common mission - to breathe deeply again in the warm company of friends, family, and our fellow human beings.