Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No to the U.S. Constitution Being Given Out On the 4th of July?

Bristol, Rhode Island, claims it has the nation's oldest Fourth of July celebration
by Associated Press
Thursday July 02, 2009, 9:01 PM
BRISTOL, R.I. -- In July 1785, the citizens of the waterfront town of Bristol, R.I., assembled to heap praise on their newly minted nation and to thank God for helping them survive a fierce assault by the British during the Revolutionary War. ...

...Prayer, speeches and other such "patriotic exercises" have marked the Fourth of July in Bristol every year since 1785 -- allowing the town to lay claim to the nation's oldest Independence Day celebration. ...

...The parade has continued uninterrupted with the exception of a few years -- such as 1881, when President James Garfield was shot. Some events -- like chasing a greased pig around the Common -- have been abandoned, but modern-day fixtures include a concert series, orange crate derby, nighttime ball, a Miss (and Little Miss) Fourth of July pageant -- even a contest recognizing the person who has traveled the farthest.

"Sometimes we think we have red, white and blue running through our bloodstream because of our commitment to the celebration," said parade chairwoman Judy Squires, a lifelong Bristol resident and part of a committee of 110 volunteers that runs the event.

Passing out U.S. Constitutions on July 4th gets group tossed from annual celebration. The Rhode Island Tea Party group says that it has banned from future Bristol 4th of July Parades. Last Saturday's parade, which is the oldest in the country at 224 years, had included a float representing the taxpayer group, which has recently been organizing "Tea Party" type political rallys.

Tea Party spokesperson Marina Peterson says she was contacted by a parade committe member on Wednesday and was told "It is because some members of the RI Tea Party passed out U.S. Constitutions to the crowd. Apparently passing out the US Constitution on Independence Day is an egregious violation of parade rules. This is despite the fact that other floats passed out solicitations for their businesses, which is against the Parade guidelines, and these businesses have NOT been told that they are banned from participating in the future."

Since the parade, which dates back to 1785, is a celebration of America and its cherished freedom, that would have to be eligible for some sort of prize for irony.

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