Pay no attention to the Parade behind the curtain! Each year in June, in the State of Rhode Island, the towns of Cranston and Warwick have a parade. The Gaspee Day Parade. It’s billed as a celebration of what is considered the “first” act of aggression against the British, to start the American Revolution. Colonists burned the HMS Gaspee on June 10th, 1772, which had run aground in Narragansett Bay, on what is now known as Gaspee Point. Minus the fire, I have seen this many times, but it usually involved sailboat skippers who got too greedy on a port tack during a summer sailboat race!
The raiding party was led by Abraham Whipple, and John Brown. Ah yes, John Brown; statesmen, merchant, shipbuilder, and one of the founding fathers of what is now known as Brown University, a very prestigious Ivy League college in Providence. While we are throwing out facts, let’s not forget to add rum-runner, and another small tidbit we like to call SLAVE TRADER!
Let’s face it; 1772 was a long time ago, and the parade is a great time for kids, and bands, and community. For adults, it’s a time to see friends, and neighbors; some you haven’t seen for 10 years, and others you cross the street fast, and hope you don’t see them for another 10. Brown University is a magnificent school with much too be proud of, including trying to make peace with its past.
There is a nagging point lurking in the background. It comes from the idea in this day, and age, that John Brown can be viewed as a “founding father” of America now, but at the time was viewed as a terrorist, and pirate. As this website likes to point out, “Time Loves a Hero!” I’m not saying I don’t love the idea of living in America, and I am grateful for what the Colonist did, but Americans need to understand that sometimes, there is a fine line between John Brown and his “boys” as lovable “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and detested “Pirates of Somalia. “