This weekend was the finale of Gaspee Days, in which the burning of the HMS Gaspée is commemorated. That event, if you didn’t know, occurred in 1772 when the colonists decided to burn the HMS Gaspée that was sitting at anchor near Providence. It had been sent here by Britain to enforce trade regulations, and by this time, the colonists were pretty annoyed at Britain and its unfair taxation practices. When it ran aground, the colonists decided to burn it. It’s considered to be one of the first offensive maneuvers that led up to the Revolutionary War.
So to remember that, the folks in Pawtuxet burn the ship in effigy every year.
YAY! We burn things — legally! How cool is that?
It was a load of fun. When we first arrived, a swing band was playing in the park, so we enjoyed a picnic lunch and listened to the music. Surprisingly enough, Grace did not feel the need to get up and dance, which made me a little sad. How I love her dancing.
The redcoats then set up for their military demonstration. The highlight of the demonstration was the setting off of the cannon. They had two different models, the little guy with the large bore, and the larger gun with a small bore. The small-bore gun was loud. I was poised to take a photo with the shutter button pressed halfway down when the gun went off. Even though it’d gone off before, I was so startled that my finger involuntarily contracted, hitting the shutter button, and my camera flew up. I also let out a few choice words, mostly likely taking the Lord’s name in vain.
Oops. I know I am so going to hell in a handbasket.
The re-enactors were so amusing to watch. What is it about folks that like to dress up as people from another time, and to take on complete personas that utterly overwrite their modern personalities? It’s like going on a small-town stage, but without auditions. The gent that was playing the part of the sergeant major was such a flirt, finding every female re-enactor and schmoozing up to her. It was obvious, however, that in real life he would never do such a thing. He is probably one of those guys that is very shy around the gentler sex and wouldn’t dream of speaking to a woman unless he was absolutely forced to.
Finally it was time to set the model ship ablaze. The general asked that veterans of various wars step forward, and each was given a chance to shoot off the cannon. And all of a sudden, WHAMMO! The model ship went up in flames.
There’s a video HERE that Kurt took of the ship catching on fire (and there are more photos HERE). I was surprised it went up so quickly. It was only a couple of minutes before the harbormaster moved in and began to spray the ship with water. And that quickly, it was all over till next year.
So we celebrated an event leading to the birth of our nation that happened to take place on Flag Day by going out to dinner at our favorite Korean-Japanese restaurant. What could be more American than eating another country’s cuisine?
Let me tell you, sushi and bimbimbap is some good stuff, and the perfect cap-off to an exciting day!