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Mayor's Greeting- June 2021

Mon, 07/12/2021

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Dear Island Neighbors,

Happy Summer! I hope you find it a relief to be approaching a large degree of normality this summer, with all that it means for us on the coast, good and bad.

Such as...traffic. Our staff are working with their counterparts from other beach and adjacent communities, and appropriate folks from other governmental entities, to craft some regional efforts to help with beach traffic management throughout the Charleston area. We’ll have more info as it becomes available. I am hopeful this will result in some meaningful improvements, but I’m not expecting magic.

Meanwhile, as we do every summer, let’s shop during the week, and prepare to enjoy the weekends on the Island with several thousand new best friends. I always try to remind myself that they come here for the same reason I came here!

And now for more seasonal info...


Our firefighter staff and volunteer members of our Fire and Rescue Squad are usually the first responders (along with our Police) for beach emergencies in or out of the water. But why do they often bring a fire truck which remains at the head of the emergency access path?

Obviously they won’t be driving the fire truck to the beach.

The folks responding to the beach emergency are the same folks who have to respond to any fire calls that come. Fire Chief Anthony Stith says, “On all calls to the beach for rescue or missing person, we respond with our Rescue truck and a Fire Engine. We do this because of multiple calls happening. For the last couple of years it seems that we have been getting back-to-back calls. This gives us the ability to respond quickly to another call. We are always trying to be ready for the next call.”

I don’t know about you, but if my house catches fire, I don’t want the firefighters to lose a second in responding.


When mentioning Carolina Day, the frequent response of “Huhh?” is not unexpected.

I will yield the podium here to Dr. Mike Walsh, Chair of the Board of our fabulous Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, to explain:

“June 28th, 1776. Nine powerful British warships, under the command of Admiral Sir Peter Parker, assault the Sullivan’s Island palmetto log fort, defended by Colonel William Moultrie and his men. [British] General Henry Clinton and an infantry force on Long Island (now the Isle of Palms) attempt to attack the island across Breach Inlet, only to be thrown back by [American] Col. William Thomson and his rangers. At the palmetto fort, the cannon duel began in earnest about 11 AM, and by 10 PM that evening, the Battle of Sullivan’s Island was over…and the British were defeated! Impossible!

“This was the world’s most powerful military, the most powerful navy. The story of how this little band of Americans overcame the world’s most powerful military should be enough to make you take a trip to Fort Moultrie, where it’s all explained. Suffice it to say that this was one of the first great victories of the American Revolution, and it took place six days before the adoption of our Declaration of Independence...

“...Carolina Day has been celebrated ever since... Most of these celebrations, however, have taken place in downtown Charleston. Charles Town was almost certainly the ultimate target of those British forces in 1776 had they succeeded, but we must remember that not a shot was fired from the peninsula during the battle. All of the fighting and dying took place right here on our historic island. The gallant deeds of Moultrie and Jasper occurred here. The fort soon named for Moultrie is here.

“Now, with Covid retreating like the British, Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, in concert with the Town of Sullivan’s Island, WILL have a significant celebration! Because June 28th is a Monday, the event will be held on Saturday, June 26th, at 9 AM, on the plaza in front of Town Hall. The Moultrie flag will fly again. Appropriate remarks will be made, including the story of the palmetto log fort itself...”

Thanks to the Battery Gadsden group for reviving this tradition. Please come out for this brief but informative and very locally significant event. Rouse the kids so they can learn about this local history. And bring your neighbors who have just moved here and have no idea of what Carolina Day means!

And BTW...seersucker is extremely traditional on Carolina break it out if you have it!


Good news: The golf cart parade is back! Of course, since we have had to temporarily relocate the Fire Department to the modified Fish Fry Shack (preparing for the extensive rebuild of the fire station), that’s not an option for an ending point, so we have had to come up with a new route. Fortunately, our friends at Sunrise Presbyterian Church have pitched in.

Says Councilmember Kaye Smith, Chair of Council’s Recreation Committee:

“We are happy to announce that the Town-sponsored golf cart and bike parade is back this year and will be held on Saturday, July 3rd... Carts and bikes will line up at 9:00 am at Sunrise Presbyterian and the parade will end at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School. Awards for best golf cart and bike displays will be given...It will be great to see everyone in person again!”

Suggestion: Make sure your cart is well-charged, since the parade route is longer than usual.

The Less-Good News: Because of Covid concerns when we had to commit (months ago) with our usual fireworks vendor, we again had to decide against having an Independence Day fireworks show. However...look for a future announcement of another end-of-the-year holiday show!

In the meantime, please remember that fireworks are otherwise illegal, everywhere on the Island, even on July 4.

But let’s remember why we celebrate the holiday, and try to stay thankful for our freedom, even if it includes the inconvenience of having to forego a few bottle rockets.

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil
843 670 9266
Twitter: @oneilpm1