= The Bristol Rhode Island 4th of July Parade =
My family lineage is 3rd generation Bristolian. I grew up in this town and lived many other places, and of all the places lived, it was Bristol RI and the 1732 Colonial home my grandparents owned and we lived in that gave me a deep appreciation of local, American and World History. Part of my college degree is in Politics / History.
So, yeah, the 4th of July is a very big celebration in this town. Via the good folks at WLNE-TV 6 (link highlighted above) anyone can capture a photo and video glimpse to the affair this town has taken on for 230 years – the oldest parade in North America. Its 23,000 residents welcome over half a million people in the two weeks of Independence Day celebrating, and does so on two-lane roads (only two state highways) and its many parks and fields.
[Photo: “Bristol Harbor” by Original uploader was Angus Davis at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User: Liftarn using Commons Helper.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons; Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bristol_harbor.jpg#/media/File:Bristol_harbor.jpg%5D
The town remains a historic wonderland. Houses like the one we lived in go even older! Just about all of them have been well preserved, remaining the legacies of Rhode Island and American histories. To walk the burial sites in town you find some of the most famous names of actors and actresses, business magnates, government and civic officials any town could muster.
[Source: “Engraving from The Providence Plantations for 250 Years, Welcome Arnold Greene (1886). page 404” View of Bristol Harbor, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_view_of_Bristol_RI_from_the_harbor.jpg
The richness of its own history keeps this town anchored in past, present and future. This parade showcases it perfectly with all the guests who joined in from around the world and the many performers who likewise join in far from Bristol’s shores.
SourceAttribution: Street scene prior to the Independence Day parade in Bristol, RI., TwoSheds – own work 17 July 2007 ]
We see the faces we worked alongside when I marched and supported the parade back in the 70s; when my Aunt Claudia was on the Parade Committees of the 80s and 90s. These are people who are friends, distant relatives and known faces that remain; I have moved on again and look from the West side of the Bay for now at the town that never forgets our traditions, history and culture.
This year I was fearing a bit. There have been tumultuous events happening in this nation, and sometimes, I wonder if there enough fabric sewn together in America to even call it a nation. Thankfully this parade showed whatever separates us by political, moral, ethical and religious opinion allows us to celebrate together peacefully.
Having part of my roots in Portugal, seeing the Seabra Supermarkets ‘American Roots’ Portuguese entry winning a division award, it gives me joy to know the Portuguese contributed so much to this nation and the world. The many cultures in this place make the area historically relevant and vibrant.
Seeing and hearing the endless gratitude and love for our Veterans and active/retired Military, a hallmark of this town, it endears me to a cause that’s been in my own family for every generation: to defend the nation and the Constitution of its founding. (I am the first, and the last, with no direct military service – just support – from work and volunteerism.) That honor extends well past the lives that have fallen, by war or age, recorded throughout the town. [Source/Attribution: Juniper Hill Cemetery, Bristol RI – Magicpiano / own work. Personal Note: I lived across the street from this famed burial ground which holds the bodies and histories of Hollywood stars, historians, war heros, business tycoons and others.]
This parade is nearly 4 hours long this year! Amazing in itself. ABC6’s John DeLuca was speaking about the ‘difference’ this year’s parade brings – they’re not quite sure what (The new bands? The floats? The outpouring of support?) but even as I watch this from my studio it is evident. We needed this parade. We needed to see America celebrating something in union.
As for the sights of facial hair in present and in history, the beards are historic and brilliant. Big, beautiful, manly, bushy face fur that could have held its own Beard & Moustache Competition along the route of Hope Street.
The gang at ABC6 has been legendary in both their coverage and recollection of history. You can’t do this event without knowing the roots of the town which was born in 1680, nor following with accuracy the steps a nation took to break free, become its own legacy, and move in its pathway to make its own mark. I haven’t watched this much television all at once in ages. You can bet your Nielsens that the ratings will be explosive.
As the United States has had tough image problems and lackluster leadership in recent decades, and we are excellent in showing the world ‘the thrill of (our) victory and the agony of (our) defeat’ in all that we do, we can still pull ourselves together to remember that this relatively young nation has the potential to be great, honorable and legendary – and folks like these are the proof past and present of such potential. We are not alone in our stumbling; but I see so much potential in every corner of this planet.
The human element, the human heart and peaceful spirit of community, hospitality and civility, lives; not only in our freedom, it revives in times of persecution. The sovereign cause and the hope of our will can transform every nation from the least to the greatest as alive, spirited, welcoming so long as the majority make it so.
[Source/Attribution: A stone bridge in Colt State Park, Bristol, RI.; SamFaz23 – own work, 27 May 2007. Personal Note: This is the original Mill Gut Bridge built in the very early 1900s ]
In Omnipotent, Omnipresent places watchful eyes cast their gaze on us all, seeking the peacemakers, the benevolent, the scholarly and bold to break the barriers and lift up the downtrodden for a world free of hate, prejudice and deception. This world needs the caring, sound leaders, the honorable and brave, to hold back the tide of death and destruction so prevalent, tragic and needless, in today’s news. [Source/Attribution: Mount Hope Bridge, Rhode Island, USA. Photo taken by Angus Davis in August, 2005. ]
Our best defense and offense is love – the universal language of oneness, and understanding: the ability to listen, agree, disagree and keep communication flowing. Coupled with reason and historic record one can find every answer for healing lives, livelihoods and communities. That has been my mission since a youth on the streets of Bristol. It is my honored field of endeavor through communication, my vocation. It has afforded me the opportunity to meet and know some of the most famous among us, and the least known, and find things in common – from all over this planet. It is the reason for getting up in the morning.