The revolutionary spirits runs deep in Rhode Island.
In May 1776, it became the first of the 13 American colonies to formally renounce its ties to the British crown.
It was four years prior, however, in June 1772, that one of the formative events of the revolutionary cause – the raid on, and burning of, the HMS Gaspee – took place off what is now known as Gaspee Point.
The Gaspee Affair was a rallying point for colonists, an event around which the nascent rebellion against royal overreach coalesced. It was, as the saying goes, the nation’s first blow for freedom.
Unfortunately, it often goes under-appreciated beyond the state’s bounds, as events like the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s ride have typically captured more of the American public’s attention and imagination.
But locally, the Gaspee legacy lives on – and once again, the community is preparing for a month of festivities designed to celebrate our shared heritage and Rhode Island’s vital role in the nation’s fight for independence.
At noon on Saturday, the 2019 Gaspee Days events kick off with the annual Proclamation Ceremony in Pawtuxet Park. The weeks to come will bring familiar favorites of the spring calendar, from the Arts & Crafts Festival over Memorial Day weekend to the 54th Gaspee Days Parade on June 8 and the ceremonial burning of the Gaspee on June 9.
The dedicated members of the Gaspee Days Committee make these events possible, along with the many volunteers who give their time and talent for the various activities. We thank all of them for their commitment to carrying on our history and fostering a sense of community.
More information and a full schedule of events can be found at gaspee.com. Our special supplement devoted to Gaspee Days can be found in the May 16 edition.
Whether it is to volunteer or simply to celebrate alongside family members, neighbors and friends, we urged local residents to check out this year’s Gaspee Days events. We live in a special place with a proud past and a unique spirit – and that is very much worth celebrating.