Longtime attendee: Parade is ‘our day once a year’

October 9, 2017 GMT

Peter Bruno, 53, of East Boston has been taking in the Columbus Day Parade festivities in the North End since he was young.

Yesterday, Bruno waved an Italian flag while he watched the parade. Bruno told the Herald’s Antonio Planas why Columbus Day is important to him:

It’s dynamite. I’ve been going 40 years, it’s just a good time.

It’s a good day for the Italian-Americans. We have our day once a year ... Italian and American flags waving everywhere.

Bruno said the anti-Columbus Day protesters who draped a sign on the 15th-century explorer’s statue, accusing him of genocide, are entitled to their opinions.

But, he said, their opinions irk him.

It’s kind of an insult to our heritage. We have our day. We have our festival. Puerto Ricans have their festival. No one is interfering with other heritages’ festivals. ... It is what it is. What are you going to do about it? Freedom of speech. I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. I’m not happy about it, but what can I do?