From the constant train horn to Aggie Football games, Bryan/College Station has many quirks known around here as “traditions”. First Friday is one of these traditions deeply treasured by the community. It’s is a celebration of the arts. Being so near to Texas A&M University, the Bryan/College Station area tends to be known more for our excellent traditional education, rather than our unique community of art and culture enthusiasts. However, First Friday celebrates the art and people that makes this town a treasure to live in long after graduation. July’s First Friday is an especially exhilarating time as we come together to celebrate the freedoms won for us generations ago and the people who have and are still fighting for those freedoms.
The SEAD Gallery in Downtown Bryan is putting in extraneous effort to honor veterans through this particular First Friday. Local veterans are invited to come to SEAD and swap stories of the adventures experienced deployed and the hardships that attach themselves to those adventures. The gallery encourages people to bring memorabilia and photos to aid in the reminiscing of a different time in this very casual setting.
As the curators at SEAD began imagining this tribute to veterans for First Friday, a patron visited the SEAD Library and Bookshop looking for new gems to add to his collection. A veteran himself, he began articulating tales of Berlin and sleeping on the train all night after missing his stop. Echoing the times he visited Paris on leave, and the curious opportunity he had to go on leave more frequently than anyone else.
Listening to his stories allowed a different generation to take a peek into what life was like in WWII. SEAD wants our community to be able to experience this broadening view of the world, whether it’s through listening to other’s adventures or by reading it about them in our expansive book collection.
The SEAD Library & Bookshop will have patriotic and war history books to skim through, allowing memories to return to some and helping educate others. The goal is to honor the community’s veterans and their families with recollection and refreshments.
That night, SEAD will be hosting a special guest, World War II Veteran Holly Rees. Holly will be bringing his vast memorabilia and sharing stories with us all while wearing the same uniform he was discharged in! We’re excited to talk more with this extremely special man. If you want to learn more about him before Friday, you can pick up his book Three Flags and Two Brothers: To War and Back.
This month’s First Friday is July 7th, and the SEAD veteran hullabaloo will be from 6PM to 9PM. We hope everyone is able to come celebrate our veterans and independence with the SEAD Gallery, and that everyone will get the chance to experience the BCS tradition that is First Friday.