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Greenwich Celebrates History and Independence

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Residents in Revolutionary War dress mingled with audience members clothed in red, white, and blue at Greenwich’s Independence Day Celebration Monday morning.

“Before we head out to the barbecues, the beach parties, and fireworks, let us remember that freedom has always been very precious, and never more so than it is today,”  Selectman David Theis said, welcoming the crowd at Town Hall.

“Whether it was on the battlefield of Lexington, Concord, or in Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to remember that freedom isn’t free and the price of freedom is constant vigilance.”

Greenwich Boy Scouts marched to the front of town hall to present 13 colonial flags, in remembrance of America’s birth. Noelle Valentine, leader of the Boys and Girls Club Honor Guard and winner of the Youth of the Year award, read “My Name is Old Glory” by Howard Schnauber in recognition of the flag that symbolized the original colonies coming together as the United States of America. “I have borne silent witness to all of America's finest hours, but my finest hours are yet to come,” read Valentine.

Children of the American Revolution, dressed in Colonial garb, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then members of the Boy and Girl Scouts of Greenwich read excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.

Bea Crumbine, chair of the Independence Day Association of Greenwich, asked descendants of the early settlers of Greenwich and of Revolutionary War and Civil War patriots to stand while the names citizens who died during those wars were read. Veterans in the crowd were also asked to stand and were applauded for their service to the country.

“The gentlemen and ladies who just stood actually inspired me as a young 10-year-old standing on the steps here playing trumpet during Memorial Day,” said Chris Hughes, a veteran and master of ceremonies for the event. “They were the ones I looked up to and they were the ones that inspired me to join the military and have the honor of wearing a uniform of the United States Marines.”

Residents were transported back to 1862 when actor Damian Long read from the diary of Capt. Daniel Mead of Greenwich. He spoke of the Battle of Newburn, N.C., and spoke of the hardships servicemen from Greenwich faced during the Civil War. “I want to assure you that while I am home recovering, I will not be idle. I will dedicate myself to completing my book, ‘The History of the Town of Greenwich.’ I hope someday a copy of it will be available in the Greenwich Library,” said “Capt. Mead.”

The audience observed a moment of silence and jumped at the sound of a three-cannon salute before “Taps” was played.

Students from Greenwich public and private schools, selected by their principals or headmasters, were honored with Good Citizen Awards. Each student received a certificate and gift from Mr. and Mr. Peter Malkin. The younger children received the book “Buttercup Goes to Monticello” and the older ones received “Great Birthday of Our Republic.” All the winners received a copy of “Great American Documents.”

The Sound Beach Community band played “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” while Stefanie Kies led the crowd in song. The ceremony concluded with “God Bless America” as young and old members of the audience waved their flags in a sea of red, white, and blue.

How did you celebrate Independence Day in Greenwich? Comment below and send photos to ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com .

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