'Welcome to Bristol,' from a World War II relic

A rehabilitated piece of World War II history will welcome visitors to the Michael Andrade Boardwalk

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 6/17/21

Under clear blue skies this past Friday afternoon, a group of town leaders, veterans, first responders and citizens gathered for the unveiling of a special new landmark. A massive submarine net …

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'Welcome to Bristol,' from a World War II relic

A rehabilitated piece of World War II history will welcome visitors to the Michael Andrade Boardwalk

Posted

Under clear blue skies this past Friday afternoon, a group of town leaders, veterans, first responders and citizens gathered for the unveiling of a special new landmark. A massive submarine net float, repainted and repurposed with “Welcome to Bristol” on one side and “Specialist Michael Andrade Boardwalk” on the other, was revealed for the first time on the public land located along the downtown boardwalk, just south of the State Street dock.

The boardwalk is named in honor of Spc. Michael Andrade, a member of the 115th Military Police Company, who was killed in 2003 in a Humvee accident while serving in Iraq.

It’s the third repurposing of the giant float. Rediscovered after languishing on town land adjacent to the police station, and used an an oil tank for many years, Town Administrator Steven Contente asked DPW mechanic Brett Mancieri to oversee the emptying and removal of the tank. It was taken to talented local sign painter Tom Weathers for a makeover, and now boasting a bright and glossy red coat of paint, it’s anchored in its new home.

“I think Michael would be pleased to have kids climb on it,” said Mr. Contente, to the enthusiastic agreement of Spc. Andrade’s wife, Kristen Andrade, and sister, Fatima Milhomens, both present at the unveiling. “It’s a hands-on memorial.”

“There are not many left,” said retired town clerk and local historian Lou Cirillo. “These floats used to hold nets in place — the nets that they used to close Narragansett Bay to German U-boats durning World War II. So it has both historical and local significance.”

There will be a formal dedication of the memorial on Aug. 14, following the Blessing of the Fleet.

“Like the buoy in Key West, it will become something that people coming to Bristol will photograph,” said Mr. Contente. “Come to Bristol and have a ball!”

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