The â€śBack the Blueâ€ť parade saw Yankee Harley Davidson packed full of more than 200 people who rode in on motorcycles, classics cars and trucks and jeeps, flying American and Back the Blue flags to show their support for police.
There were also several motorcycle clubs, such as police biker group Arresting Souls and the Rat Pack Motorcycle Club, as well as other police supporters from Bristol and the surrounding communities.
The atmosphere was one of camaraderie and patriotism with children passing out American flags for adults to wave. After chatting for a bit in the lot, participants began their ride, joined by police on motorcycles and fire trucks which enthusiastically honked to show their thanks. The ride took participants past the Bristol, Plainville and Farmington police and fire departments before they would ultimately gathered for dinner at the Farmington Knights of Columbus.
The event was organized by Nicole Morin. Jeannine Miller and Morin were selling â€śBack the Blueâ€ť yard signs at the event, with proceeds supporting the Bristol, Plainville and Farmington police departments.
â€śThis was a huge turnout, even with the outages,â€ť said Morin, who said that even though some of their route had to be altered, she was very pleased with how the event turned out.
Barbara Santello and Mark Palmer, of the Nutmeg Jeepers group, were among the parade participants. Their green Jeep was adorned with flags on the back.
â€śWe came out to support the police department,â€ť said Santello. â€śMy daughter, Madison, is in the police explorer training program in Bristol and she will be saluting us as we go by.â€ť
Palmer said that police have been getting a â€śbad rapâ€ť lately and that people shouldnâ€™t let a â€śfew bad applesâ€ť spoil the bunch.
Steve Chagnon, a volunteer Bristol EMT, said that his son, Michael, is serving in the Navy and the experience that he got as a police explorer helped to prepare him for his service.
â€śBlue lives matter too,â€ť said Chagnon.
John Salke, of Prospect, said that police have been â€śtaking it on the chin for long enough.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s time people stood up for them,â€ť he said.
Peter Cipriano, also of Prospect, added that the â€śsilent majority has been silent for long enough.â€ť
Doug Capsalors, of Bristol, who had American and Back the Blue flags hanging off the back of his sports car, said that police put their badges on every day to serve and protect and that an event like this is â€śthe least we can do.â€ť
Lt. Michael Duval, who was among the officers present at the event, said that it was â€śnice to have the support.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.