"I welcome you to Bristol as we celebrate the 4th of July like no other town in America."
Town Administrator Diane Medeiros — among other dignitaries — officially opened Bristol's 4th of July celebration at 8:30 this morning during patriotic exercises in the Colt School auditorium, her final address on parade day as administrator. Medeiros is leaving her position at the end of the year after more than 25 years with the town.
"It's our can-do attitude that sets us apart," Medeiros said. "Just like the work of the 4th of July Committee to pull this miracle off. It helps us spread good will inside and outside the community. This is our time to shine."
The 4th of July Committee welcomed dignitaries from around the community and state, including Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. David Cicilline, among local politicians and military representatives. Former President Bill Clinton advisor Ira Magaziner delivered the keynote address, highlighting the importance of the Declaration of Independence and its role in not only establishing the United States, but changing the course of the world.
"The Declaration of Independence transformed hunan history," Magaziner said. "No significant society had ever operated on these principles. The circumstance of one's birth determined their fate for 8,000 years of human history until the Declaration of Indepenednce."
The ceremony paid tribute to the role the military has played in establishing and defending the country. The committee welcomed Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel, who fought in the Vietnam War, and retired Navy Senior Chief Paul J. Salesi presented parade Grand Mashall Antonio Teixeira with a U.S. flag that flew on the USS Constitution — "Old Ironsides" — the oldest ship in the Naval fleet.