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Bunker Hill Day in the United States

Bunker Hill Day marks the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, also known as the Battle of Breed's Hill. This battle, which occurred on June 17, 1775, was part of the Siege of Boston, which took place during the American Revolutionary War.

Is Bunker Hill Day a Public Holiday?

Bunker Hill Day is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, June 16, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in the United States.

Bunker Hill Day commemorates a part of American history.

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What Do People Do?

A range of events are organized, usually at historic sites and museums. Examples include: re-enactments of historical events; displays on Native American life; performances of live music; and demonstrations of colonial cooking and crafts. Many events are held on a weekend close to June 1, so families can attend.

On the Sunday before or on June 17, a large parade is held in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to celebrate Bunker Hill Day and to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill. Various groups take part in the parade including: local marching bands and other musical groups; current and past military personnel; re-enactment groups, especially those connected to the Siege of Boston; sports groups; fire trucks; police motorcycles; and floats sponsored by local businesses. Many people also visit re-enactments of battles and other events from the American Revolutionary War or visit the Bunker Hill Monument or other historic sites on the Boston Freedom Trail.

Legal Holiday until 2009

Before 2010, Bunker Hill Day was a state holiday in Suffolk County in Massachusetts. Today, it is a local observance, so shops, schools, and offices have normal opening hours.

Background

The Charlestown Peninsula is north of the Charles River and south of the Mystic River and extends about one mile (1.6 kilometers) into Boston Harbor. There are two hills on Charlestown Peninsula: Bunker Hill in the north; and Breed's Hill in the south. On June 16, 1775, Colonel William Prescott and around 1,500 soldiers moved into the area and started to build a fortification on Breed's Hill. In the early hours of the next morning, they were spotted by a British Navy ship. The British attacked and conquered the peninsula, but about 1500 people died in the battle.

The events on Bunker Hill were part of the Siege of Boston, which lasted from April 19, 1775, until March 17, 1776. The Siege of Boston was part of the American Revolutionary War, which lasted from 1775 until 1783. It is unclear as to when the day was first officially observed, however records show that it was observed in the United States as far back as 1863.

Symbols

The current and past flags of the United States are important symbols of the emergence of the United States as an independent country. These flags are widely displayed on Bunker Hill Day. The 13 (seven red and six white) horizontal stripes on the flag of the United States represent the original 13 colonies, which declared independence from Great Britain during or before 1790. Each of the white stars on a blue background represents one of the current states.

The Flag of New England and the Flag of Bunker Hill are also associated with the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Flag of New England is a red rectangle. There is a white square containing an image of a tree on the upper part of the flag, which is hung closest to the flag pole. The Flag of Bunker Hill consists of a dark blue rectangle, again with a white square on the upper part of the flag, which is hung closest to the flag pole. The white square contains an image of Saint George's cross, which is a symbol of England. A tree is depicted in one of the upper quarters of the Saint George's cross.

Bunker Hill Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SunJun 13Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2011SunJun 12Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2012SunJun 17Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2013SunJun 16Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2014SunJun 15Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2015SunJun 14Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2016SunJun 12Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2017SunJun 11Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2018SunJun 17Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2019SunJun 16Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts
2020SunJun 14Bunker Hill DayLocal observanceMassachusetts

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