By JOSEPH B. GERACI
OpSail 2012 and Sailfest offer a unique opportunity for residents of New London and all of Connecticut. It will not only offer a spectacular array of ships but will also be a maritime event rich in history, music and food. The three major waterfront areas of State Pier, downtown and Fort Trumbull will be venues of festivities for the entire family.
Aside from the obvious gala of the events another more important opportunity exists. Residents and visitors have the occasion to come together and share in the meaning and joys of the celebration. It is an opportunity for everyone to demonstrate the common citizenship that has made this country so great.
It is an opportunity to put aside political and ideological differences and take the time to appreciate the harmony that comes from mutual enjoyment. It is a time to mingle, laugh and enjoy each other's company while strolling the piers or waiting in line for a ship's tour. It is a time to offer assistance to the young and elderly that, they also, may enjoy the festivities despite possible limitations. It is a time to meet people, make new friends and create relationships that reach across city lines.
For the people of New London, OpSail and SailFest offer a special opportunity. It is a chance to showcase the real New London; a New London rich in history; a city of wonderful restaurants and unique shops. The Parade and transportation center form a beautiful gateway to the city for visitors arriving by boat, train or bus; it is something to be proud of. Most of all it is an opportunity to demonstrate New London's warm and friendly hospitality.
Lastly, when all are gathered for the Coast Guard Band concert and the fireworks display it will be a time to reflect on a nation's people that fought, and continue to fight, in order to allow us all the freedom to gather and celebrate the birth of an anthem.
Through a night's battle "…our flag was still there" and remains a symbol of a cohesive nation and community of grateful people.
Joseph B. Geraci lives in New London is a member of the OpSail 2012 Board of Directors.