Bristol’s Fourth of July celebration began in earnest as the town paid tribute to the stars and stripes during Flag Day ceremonies on the Town Common Wednesday afternoon.
Fourth of July Committee General Chairwoman Donna Falcoa hosted the event, introducing this year’s Fourth dignitaries, including Chief Marshals Lisa Sienkiewicz and Gail Parella.
“It’s important we appreciate the blessings of freedom the flag represents,” Ms. Parella said to a large crowd gathered near the Town Common gazebo. “Freedom has been hard fought and hard won. Our great flag weaves together the generations of Americans who continue to fight for our freedoms.”
Ms. Falcoa also made the first puclic introductions of Ms. Fourth of July Olivia Borgia, Little Ms. Fourth of July Angela "Ella" Pirri, Patriotic Speaker Colonel Andrew James Drake and Hattie Brown winner Robert Squatrito, before the chief marshals hoisted this year’s flag that will fly over Bristol throughout the celebration.
Earlier in the ceremony, Town Administrator Steven Contente spoke of the important principles the flag represents, principles children learn from an early age while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before each school day. Those early lessons leave a strong impression on all Americans that they carry throughout their lives, “helping them be understanding and tolerant of other points of view in our adult lives,” he said.
“Our flag is a reminder of our unity and common spirit to protect our values,” Mr. Contente said. “It is most important that we be proud to honor it, and teach reverence to children of its symbolism. It is a reminder that laws are fluid, however, our principles of justice, tranquility, defense and liberty that bind each of the 50 stars are enduring.”
The celebration of those principles in Bristol is real and authentic, said Town Council Chairman Nathan Calouro, proven by the dedication of Fourth of July Committee volunteers who begin on July 5 to plan for the next year’s celebration.
“If you look around, it looks like a movie set,” Mr. Calouro said. “Flags are everywhere, and as we get closer to the Fourth, there will be more flags. But these are not actors. This is real patriotism.”