Do you know what â€œAmericaâ€™s First Blow for Freedomâ€? was? If youâ€™re like most Rhode Islanders, who live outside of Cranston and Warwick, then the answer more likely or not is no. Thatâ€™s sad because it means that the majority of Rhode Islanders are unaware of the important role that Rhode Island played in the coloniesâ€™ fight for independence from England prior to the American Revolution.
In 1772, the HMS Gaspee patrolled the waters of Narragansett Bay to enforce the Stamp Act. On June 9, the Hannah lured the Gaspee onto a sandbar off of what is now Gaspee Point and while it was stranded, a group of colonists burned the Gaspee. For a more detailed synopsis of the events, visit: http://gaspee.org/BurningGaspee.html
I grew up in the Gaspee Plateau area of Warwick and my neighborhood was located right on Narragansett Bay directly across from Gaspee Point, where the burning of the Gaspee transpired in 1772. Each Memorial Day weekend, my brothers, friends and I would visit the Gaspee Days Arts & Crafts Festival at least two of the three days (sometimes more) and eagerly await the Gaspee Days Parade which is held the second Saturday in June. I can document stages of my childhood from pictures taken at the parade; from my first parade at 10 months old, to when I was a four year old who talked my father into buying me a painterâ€™s cap from Madonnaâ€™s â€˜Like a Virginâ€™ tour (my mother was less than pleased), to my teenage years and this year weâ€™ll hopefully get some photos of my son at his first parade.
If youâ€™ve never been to any of the Gaspee Days events, I encourage you to attend the Arts & Crafts Festival, Fireworks at Salterâ€™s Grove, reenactment of the Burning of the Gaspee and of course, the Parade. The Events calendar can be found here: http://gaspee.com/GaspeeDaysEvents.htm. The Gaspee Daysâ€™ season has always been a part of my life and I hope to continue that tradition with my son, and even though we donâ€™t live right on the parade route, fortunately, Gramma and Grandpa do!