4th spirits high, if not dry

4th spirits high, if not dry

Paige Berdos and Brynn Pavao, both 11, of Plainville, Mass., huddle under an umbrella on Hope Street before the start of Friday's parade.

To the editor:

Seated in the back of a 2006 candy apple red Volvo, I got a first-hand look at what Bristol’s Fourth of July Parade looked like this year on a less-than-favorable weather day.

Riding in the Chief Marshal’s Division along with several other past Fourth of July Chief Marshals, I was amazed at the number of people who still turned out for this event. Despite a persistent rain, which got ever worse shortly after the parade ended, these brave souls who ventured into our fair town never let the weather interfere with their patriotic enthusiasm for a single moment.

I’ve been associated with this town’s most glamorous holiday event as a spectator, working member of the media, past Chief Marshal, past Patriotic Speaker, and former member of the Fourth of July Committee, and at every turn, I can tell you that it makes me proud that these people (Fourth of July Committee members), who live in the smallest county in the smallest state in the union, can put on such a large-scale, full-blown production year in and year out.

Like so many other native Bristolians, I live for the Fourth of July. I love being a part of the nation’s oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration. There’s just something about it that you can’t compare with anything else.

Watching the rain drops fall as many well-wishes greeted me along the 2.5-mile parade route, I realized these folks, many of them waving the American flag and sporting the good old red, white and blue in a variety of costumes and get-ups, were truly caught up in the spirit of America. This is when you truly realize that we live in the greatest country in the world. Saluting our veterans, past and present, gives everyone a special lift. I know it left me with a lump in my throat.

This year’s parade, under the watchful eye of chairwoman Donna Falcoa, and Fourth of July Committee General Chairman Raymond Lavey, was another classic. They say it never rains on Bristol’s parade. This year, it did. But that didn’t matter. What did matter was that we all celebrated our nation’s birthday with the same fervor and feeling as we’ve always demonstrated — in the true Bristol tradition. Hats off to the entire Fourth of July Committee for a job well done.

Manuel C. “Manny” Correira