REVELING IN REVOLUTION
July 5, 2015 -- As had been done at village greens, town squares and in public halls in July 1776, residents of Sea Cliff and surrounding communities reveled in revolution this past Saturday morning gathering at the John Burns Village Green for a public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Sponsored by the Sea Cliff Civic Association, and presided over by its President Ann DiPietro, the celebration of the nation's 239th birthday was truly a community affair with villagers of all ages from elementary school through middle age - some sporting tricornes, at least one wearing what appeared to be a powdered wig, and almost all in red white or blue - getting into the act.
Mayor Bruce Kennedy rang in Saturday's proceedings with thirteen tolls of Sea Cliff's Liberty Bell harking back to Philadelphians being summoned by the ringing of their own bell of the same name to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Then in a solemn procession led by 4th of July Committee member Carol Vogt and rising fifth graders fifer Ruby "Scout" Kessler and drummer Ruben Shonick, Sea Cliff Boy Scout Troop #43 members Charles LaMarca
Joseph Chebuske, Gabriel Dranow, Kyle Fahey Joseph Nelson, R. J. Pisciotta, Will Cinski, and Kyle Soscie presented the Colors, and the assemblage recited the pledge of allegiance before Cathy Virgilio's powerful and moving rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
With Dan DiPietro narrating, residents Hank Bjorklund, Victoria Bjorklund, Joe Hughes, Avery Goodman, Seamus Hughes, Patrick Reynolds and Kate Wesley-Jones then performed the playlet "They Ventured Much," which told the stories of several of the courageous patriots who had risked life and treasure by having the courage to sign the Declaration of Independence.
The celebration culminated with a reading of Jefferson's immortal words pronouncing government's duty to protect the natural rights of its citizens and indicting the British crown for its oppressive policies towards the American Colonies. John Canning delivered the preamble, while a cast of Sea Cliff villagers interspersed among the crowd, each with a healthy dose of indignation, recited assigned sections from the document's list of grievances, and the nearly 200 patriots present proclaimed collectively the concluding paragraph asserting American Independence.
And as the throng huzzah'd and blew noise makers with flag-waving fervor, Ms. DiPietro and Mr. Canning descended the library steps dancing a jig of unrestrained independence and jubilation.
Sea Cliffians have been observing the Fourth of July with a public reading of the Declaration of Independence for nearly two decades - with the first reading held at Geohegan Park in 1996. Since 2002, the Sea Cliff Civic Association has organized the event, hosting it at the Village Green. This year's Civic Association Fourth of July Committee was made up of Christine Abbenda, Diane Biolsi, Daren Kessler, JenO'Hare, and Carol Vogt.
Rob Mansfield of Grassroots in Glen Head generously donated baked goods, and the Civic Association refreshments, for the enjoyment of all of those present.
Photos by Richard Greene and Northwordnews
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