Hello again, dear readers. I did not anticipate doing another one of these — but our May holidays article got some rave reviews (okay, a single rave review), and I’m a sucker for the validation. Seriously, if you tell me I’m special I’ll probably do whatever you want. Anyway, here’s some spicy takes on the holidays of June.
5. Gaspee Day – June 10
In last place this month, I’ve put RI’s Gaspee Day. I know what you’re thinking: *gasp!* I thought Bradly liked Rhode Island! How can he diss Gaspee Day?
As a guy who is pretty well-acquainted with RI history, I connect Gaspee Day with this false narrative that the American Revolution was a unanimous idea that everyone was fighting against “taxation without representation.” In reality, most people were poor, and probably weren’t affected all too much by tax rates if they weren’t shipping magnates. John Brown, however, WAS a shipping magnate (and a prolific trader of enslaved people) and was deeply affected by tax rates, which is why he went on to be one of the leaders of the Gaspee Raid.
It’s basically like if Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk were like, “Let’s burn down the IRS because our taxes are too high!” and everyone else was like “yea sounds good!” and we celebrate those guys now. Plus, isn’t it a little macabre to roll a burning ship effigy down the street? People were hurt. Especially British Lt. Dudingston, who was shot in the groin. Tough break, Lt.
Despite my gripes with the holiday, Warwick does put on a nice event. Read more about that at gaspee.com.
4. Flag Day – June 14
In fourth place this month is Flag Day. This commemorates June 14, 1777, when we approved the design for our first flag.
Um, okay? What kind of nothing holiday is this? It’s not even the same flag as it was back then. To be absolutely clear, we are not celebrating the country, just the flag. And people don’t even do anything with it. Maybe if it was a custom that everyone had to wear a toga made of an American flag that day, I’d have a little more patience for Flag Day. But no. No one likes to have fun.
The reason that this even made the list at all is that it’s also my little brother’s birthday. Happy birthday, Travis!
3. Father’s Day – June 19, 2022
Ah, Dad’s Day. Something about this day makes me want to put on a short-sleeve button-down, cargo shorts and flip flops with socks, and ask my friends if they’re ready to rock ‘n roll when we are leaving a restaurant. It makes me want to insist that I’m just resting my eyes, say “hi hungry, I’m dad,” get to the airport seven hours early and get excited about walking into the hardware store (cue the Home Depot theme music).
To my dad, who lives in NJ: thanks for sticking with me, for being patient as my tears hit the long division worksheet in the fourth grade, for calling and being interested even though our lives are very different. You’re the best dad there is. And no one can tell me differently, because print magazines are a one-way form of communication, and while someone might be shouting “no, my dad is better” at a non-sentient piece of paper right now, I can’t hear them.
2. Pride Day – June 28
For anyone bummed about how corporate Pride Month has gotten — a rainbow version of a company logo is probably the most performative thing you can do these days — it made me feel better to reread the origins of Pride Day, which was the actual day the Stonewall riots started in New York in 1969. It was this police raid of a gay bar in Greenwich Village and the resulting pushback that helped launch the modern gay rights movement.
I’ve always been incredibly interested in how, despite some internal contention from within the LGBTQIA+ community, contemporary Pride celebrations are jubilant and inclusive celebrations, while other modern rights movements have taken a more confrontational tack. This is especially notable considering Pride’s origins in throwing bricks at oppressive police officers. I wonder when that switch took place — if anyone wants to teach me more about this, I’d be interested to hear.
Read more about RI Pride Festivities here.
1. Juneteenth – June 19
If you were chillin’ in Galveston, TX on June 19 in 1865, you were probably privy to one of the most impactful moments in America’s history: General Gordon Granger rolling up on his horse to tell everyone that now, all enslaved people are free. The Civil War was over, General Lee signed his name at Appomattox, and the Emancipation Proclamation was the law of the land. Boom. (Just in case anyone needs me to say it one more time, the Confederacy lost. Just sayin’.)
Beyond the badassery of this, this holiday takes the number one spot in June because I like how (1) the holiday is observed when the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, not just when it was announced. That’s good attention to detail. And (2), there’s a super awesome block party happening in PVD that I can’t wait to go to! Entertainment, games, and food and drinks at Kin PVD, downtown’s coolest restaurant for southern and soul food. Learn more at kinpvd.com.