Rain is always an unspoken threat to the Battle of Bunker Hill Parade, but on Sunday, June 16, a little rain didn’t deter anyone from coming out to march or watch the annual Parade commemorating the battle in 1775.
Shortly after the Parade started at 12:30 p.m., rain began to fall, and rain had threatened the festivities all morning long as well.
But a funny thing happened.
It didn’t matter.
Droves of people came out along the entire Parade route to see the bands, the new, large character balloons, the re-enactors from all wars, and the politicians looking to greet each and every person.
“A lot of people were worried about the rain and how it might affect the Parade, but I can tell you a little rain can’t ruin a Townie parade,” said Chief Marshal Milton Lashus the following day.
Everyone from Mayor Martin Walsh to American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad, of Virginia, marched alongside local politicians that included State Rep. Dan Ryan (who, incidentally, was judged by the younger crowd to have had the best candy this year), Councilor Michael Flaherty, Councilor Lydia Edwards, Councilor Michelle Wu, Councilor Althea Garrison and State Sen. Sal DiDomenico.
Parade Committee Coordinator Arthur Hurley had negotiated the 100th anniversary celebration of the J.W. Conway American Legion Post at the Parade, and that helped to bring out members of the American Legion from all over the United States.
He also pointed out it was the first time in many years that an American military general marched in the Parade – that being Brigadier General Vincent Malone, senior commander of the Natick Soldier Systems Center and deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command.
“I was honored to represent our active duty Army, along with our color guard from the Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, at this patriotic tradition in this great American town,” Malone told the Patriot-Bridge. “ Thank you to the Charlestown community and the officers and crew of USS Constitution for your hospitality and for remembering the heroes who came before us on that day in 1775. They stood their ground and answered the call to service in defense of a free and independent nation.”
All across the Parade route, spirits were high and everyone was excited to be there despite the weather – further cementing the resurgence of the long-honored tradition in the Town, a tradition that was nearly on the brink only a few years ago.
A great new addition this year were the large balloons for the children that looked majestic coming down Bunker Hill Street, or coming up Main Street – depending on one’s vantage point. For small children, the dinosaur, Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam were larger than life.
All this, of course, was bolstered by a full week of exciting activities from the Bunker Hill Associates – activities that concluded with the Associates’ Breakfast Sunday morning. Associates President Robert Beckwith deemed Charlestown Pride Week an unabashed success, from the new Talent Show to the long-standing Family Feud, the week (plus a few days) was a winner.
Hurley said the Parade Committee would take a little time off during the summer, and then would begin reviewing plans for next year’s procession.
According to the calendar, that should happen on June 14, 2020.