Photos: Patriotism, local spirit & a downpour dominate 98th Ancients & Horribles parade


GLOCESTER – Humidity, heat and a sudden downpour didn’t dampen the patriotic spirit evident at the 98th Ancients & Horribles Independence Day Parade that wound through Chepachet this past Thursday afternoon. 

The parade kicked off at the traditional time of 4 p.m. on the dot, with USA flags waving in the wind along the two mile parade route as hundreds of adults and children along the sidewalks, many clad in red, white, and blue, clapped, cheered and smiled. 

“It’s our first time,” said Mary Dillard of Coventry of the parade. She said she was curious to find out what it was all about and, like her grandson Dominic, age nine, was seeking something new and exciting to do. The boy said he was looking forward to seeing, “the military stuff.” 

Veterans were honored guests of the parade. Plenty of the parade watchers, seated or standing in front of houses, restaurants, and other local small businesses, or even sitting on top of their cars for a better view, took a moment to wave, or shout, “Thank you for your service!” or even offered a salute as veterans of the Vietnam War, World War II, and the Korean War rolled by in vintage military vehicles.

“It’s an honor to drive him,” Ernest Robert III said of his dad Ernest “Pete” Robert Jr., who was this year’s grand marshal.  

Grand Marshal Robert is 93 years old and will be 94 in August, said his daughter-in-law Kathy Robert, sounding proud.

“I think it’s wonderful. A nice surprise,” said marshal Robert of being chosen for the honor. He served as an Army Corporal and MP during the Korean War in the Second Infantry Division. 

Periodically during the parade route, Bristol County Fife and Drum, clad in colonial attire and playing patriotic tunes, paused, as a few among them fired muskets. One of the musket men, David Evans, dressed as a colonist, might have been mistaken for a man from the 18th century, when a number of Glocester men were serving in the American Revolution.

“It’s fun,” the Seekonk, Mass. resident said of the role he plays, and had also played marching in the Bristol parade that morning, and another parade in Randolph, Mass. the evening before. 

One of the more patriotic displays caught parade goers’ attention: A float with the banner, “One Nation Under God,” with costumed participants dressed as a large eagle flapping his wings and the statue of liberty. 

Also riding in the parade was Air Force Airman First Class Charles Compton who served after the Korean war and was a nuclear weapons specialist. He said he was looking forward to participating in the parade, particularly because of the patriotism.

“I don’t think enough people appreciate the veterans, and the death, and hell, and heartache,” Compton said. “I hope today some of the true sense of patriotism comes through.” 

“It is a great parade,” said participant Richard Mende. Mende was in the 8th Army Corps 54th Engineer Field Maintenance Company. The Army staff sergeant veteran said he has been in, “maybe 20 parades.” He had a twinkle in his eyes as he joked that Rhode Island’s U.S. senators, rather than having to navigate through holiday traffic to get to the Ancient & Horribles parade from the morning’s Bristol parade, “probably got a helicopter to come here.”

Another veteran who rode in the parade, Gus Pagel, was in the Korean War, but didn’t serve in Korea; instead, he was stationed in Fontainebleau, France, located about 50 miles from the then glamorous and chic city of Paris. “Uncle Sam said I got enough serving in Korea, so go take care of the ladies,” joked the veteran. 

Bill Field also rode in the parade. The Vietnam era veteran was stationed in Korea, and said it was his first year participating. Field described himself as, “a laid back person,” who is, “not much into the ceremonial,” and, “believes in just getting the job done.” The veteran worked for Citizens Bank for 58 years.  “I have the record,” he said. 

One of the drivers of the military vehicles was Bruce Ferreira, a retired Army master sergeant who is a regular at parades, where he drives veterans along the route in a military vehicle. Ferreira served in the military for 27 years from 1972 to 2000 – from the Vietnam War era to Desert Storm and Afghanistan. His last position in the military was BLC; he was an evaluator testing the National Guard and Army Reserve units. 

Eileen Couloimbe recalled her years of attending the event, noting her family moved to Glocester in the 1940s. 

“Growing up, we couldn’t wait to get there,” she said of herself, her siblings, and the annual Chepachet 4th of July street extravaganza. “We would put our seats out there, five kids and mom and dad. The parade has grown – used to be just the neighbors.”

As is common at the unique annual event, some participants had political messages. Parade-goers cheered as a vehicle carrying young adults passed by and one young man on board waved a flag with the message “Trump 2024 Make America Great Again.”

A jeep carrying adults and girls was adorned with a banner that read, “Vote Like Your Daughter’s Rights depend on it,” with the word “like” crossed out. Response in the form of some enthusiastic applause was elicited by a sign, “Taxation is theft,” held up high by a young man in a truck in the parade. 

There were also the parade staples: scouting troops, local businesses, organizations and sports teams that marched, drove and rode in a variety of unique vehicles, or showed off their float design creativity.

Soggy clothing and hair plastered down by rain didn’t stop politicians and elected officials from smiling and waving at the public – nor did it deter the fife and drum corps – which kept right on marching and playing patriotic songs as the rain pasted their clothing to their bodies.   

Soaked to the skin were Senate Minority Leader Jessica de la Cruz; House Minority Whip Michael Chippendale; Senate Whip Gordon Rogers and Foster Town Councilor Heidi Rogers, as well as several candidates running for office at the town, state, and congressional levels. 

de la Cruz & Chippendale

Congressman Seth Magaziner and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, as well as two challengers for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s seat –State Rep Patricia Morgan and Ray McKay – also walked in the parade. 

Among the Glocester delegation in the parade was Town Councilor Cheryl Greathouse, as well as other candidates at the local and state level.   

As the wet parade was winding down, a man and woman had the driest seat in Chepachet for watching it – at the ball field parking lot inside the front seat of their automobile. 

Ernest Masi and Anne Arieta’s opinion of the parade was favorable. 

“I was happy to see the Trump sign, but not the abortion,” said Arieta of two of the vehicles in the parade. “I applaud the people who put themselves out.”

“I think another successful parade went off without a hitch,” said Cassidy Greathouse, a member of the parade committee behind the town’a annual Ancients & Horribles Independence Day Festivities, noting the only complaint was the rain that came half way through the march. The committee met every other week from May through June and is also in charge of the fireworks, bands, vendors, acts, and registration.

Greathouse said the event was, “overall, a success,” noting none of the festivities would have happened without the work of the committee. 

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  1. I attended many times, but not in recent years. This was when the parade was a celebration of our country`s birth, not sickening political theater.

    • The Ancient and Horribles Parade
      Is a unique parade, full of laughs, entertainment and Patriotism. It is unique in its creativity. The political theatre is not sickening as it pokes fun at political correctness and Anti-American leftist indoctrination so common today.

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