Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Until Next Year

(Source)
The Fourth of July (Independence Day for you "purists") is on the wane as I write this. While the holiday is a pretty big deal in most of the United States, it's huge in the little town by the Bay where I live. No doubt the planning for next year is already underway.

Seems that the town held an event on the Fourth back in 1785, it was popular, so they just kept doing it. According to the Pedia of Wiki -
The annual official and historic celebrations (Patriotic Exercises) were established in 1785 by Rev. Henry Wight of the First Congregational Church and veteran of the Revolutionary War, and later by Rev. Wight as the Parade, and continue today, organized by the Bristol Fourth of July Committee. The festivities officially start on June 14, Flag Day, beginning a period of outdoor concerts, soap-box races and a firefighters' muster at Independence Park. The celebration climaxes on July 4 with the oldest annual parade in the United States, "The Military, Civic and Firemen's Parade", an event that draws over 200,000 people from Rhode Island and around the world. These elaborate celebrations give Bristol its nickname, "America's most patriotic town". In 1785 the Bristol Fourth of July Celebration (beginning as the Patriotic Exercises) was founded and the Fourth of July has been celebrated every year in Bristol since that date, although the parade itself was canceled several times. (Source)
It's a big deal here in town, a really big deal.

Traditionally the Navy has a presence at the parade, even so far as to bring a warship (this year it was the USS Farragut, DDG 99). Often mine own old service is represented with an aircraft belonging to the USAF performing a flyby down the parade route. Sometimes the Army takes that honor with a helicopter or two doing the flyby.

This year it was a C-130 Hercules booming through the skies as low as safety and FAA regulations permit. Which, for an aircraft that size, looks much lower than it really is. One year we had a B-2, all the way from Whiteman AFB out in Missouri, come down the parade route. I was in attendance that year and let me tell ya, a B-2 is big and scary looking, no lie. I would not want to piss one off.

Memorial Park at Whiteman AFB, MO
I don't always go to the parade, which rather chaps the hides of certain locals of my acquaintance. While it is a big deal, and it's really cool and kind of awesome, it is, when all is said and done, a parade. A big one to be sure but it's "just" a parade.

There isn't a big military presence in the parade, a few cannon, some soldiers, some sailors and Marines to be sure. But it isn't a military parade. Those I enjoy, a lot. Especially if I'm not actually marching in it. I did march in this parade one year, decided that once was enough. That's a long route to be sure. Both The Nuke and The WSO have been in the parade when they were in high school as members of the high school band and flag squad (respectively).

The Nuke claims to have gotten turned around after her first parade and walked "all the way to Warren" (the next town over) before noticing her navigational error and returning back to the manse. The WSO and I tend to doubt her story. For which The Nuke chides us yearly.

Oh, the high school band is another huge thing here in Bristol. Truth be told, they are quite good. We don't live very far from the high school and can hear them practicing for the parade most years.

The lead up to the parade can be a great deal of fun. Concerts and such with music for all ages. (Depending on which concert you go to!) As Bristol is a wee sma' town, we can hear the concerts fairly well from Chez Sarge, not oppressively loud, just loud enough to recognize the tune being played, should one pause to listen.

The fireworks are now held on the 3rd of July, which rather bugs the historian in me, but I like the logic of the thing. Hold them on the Fourth, which is traditional, but everyone has to go to work the next day? Or hold them on the 3rd, as a parade-prep, if you will. That way those who tend to do that sort of thing can get good and liquored up while watching the aerial exploding thingies, and not have to go to work the next day. Hungover.

Not that I would know anything about that...

This year was a quiet one for us as none of the progeny or grand-progeny were in town, more's the pity. Having the younger crowd around tends to liven things up quite a bit. Without them around, The Missus Herself and I pretty much lay low and listen to the traditional post-parade police sirens running about the town.

Drunks, hot weather, and explosives don't really mix.

Not that I would know anything about that...



14 comments:

  1. This year was the first time ive missed the Independence Day parade. Celebrated it in a small fishing village, sipping on a nice stout watching Eagles fly and listening to rock and roll. All in all a pretty good day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who needs a parade when you've got that?

      Sounds perfect!

      Delete
  2. Staying at home is sometimes best. I am getting grumpier and grumpier in large crowds (15,000 and up). Last night the fireworks started on the beach - North to South at 1930. The last shell went off at about 2300. Constantly booming. NICE, Nice, nice, then "goodness, will they ever stop?" I think that the families visiting here at the condo were having some sort of competition as to who could burn the most money the fastest. What a great show for us residents. It was actually wonderful - and at no charge. The beach was even clean this AM. WOW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your tolerance for crowds is far more than mine. Too many zeroes in yours.

      Ah the locals and their toys which go boom. Fun on the day itself, not so much in the days before and the days after. Even I grow tired of hearing explosions, eventually.

      Delete
    2. There's nothing like the small of cordite in the morning.

      Delete
    3. Well, unless you prefer coffee, sure.

      Delete
  3. We have the fahr-werks here from June 24-July 4. I haven't seen anything that would make me believe they are related to the Glorious Fourth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some people would set 'em off year-round if they sold 'em year round.

      It does get tiresome at times.

      Delete
    2. People have been setting off free lance fireworks displays for about a week and a half now. I am getting rather weary of it.

      Delete
  4. It sounds like spending a 4th in your neck o' the woods would be a good time. I do like that stripe down the center of town. Coronado has as festive of a celebration, but seeing how I don't actually live there, the parade is all I get to experience due to the parking situation there prior to the fireworks (get there in the dark of morning or not at all).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's much like that here.

      We're in walking distance of the parade route and we can see the fireworks from our deck. That's as close as I care to be.

      Rumbear had some nice footage of the fireworks over San Diego Bay on koobecaF.

      Delete
  5. Ah, you'd have to what I posted about my fourth of July.

    I join you in eschewing parades. Save them for Memorial Day.

    Oh, and those fireworks sales folks on our way to Maine, they all sell them year round. Explosives and drunks mostly mix at the ER.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read your tale of the Fourth, most excellent.

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)