Fourth of July recitation rekindles Declaration of Independence

DECLARATION robert lee reading

Sussex County Sheriff Robert Lee reads a portion of the Declaration of Independence during a Fourth of July ceremony on The Circle in Georgetown. In background are readers State Sen. Ernie Lopez, Sussex County Council candidate Lisa Hudson Briggs, State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn and State Rep. Ruth Briggs King.

GEORGETOWN – Not all Sussex Countians were at the beach or in their backyards grilling up barbecue at high noon on the Fourth of July.

Several dozen people gathered in The Circle in the heart of historic Georgetown July 4 for a verbal reminder of America’s founding fathers and their quest for independence from the British Empire.

State Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown; State Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes; Sussex County Sheriff Robert Lee, R-Seaford; Republican candidate for Sussex County Council Lisa Hudson Briggs of Georgetown and State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown teamed up in the recitation of the Declaration of Independence.

“I think it is important that as a nation we know what it says, that we listen to the words and try to understand the words every year – on this 240th anniversary of the birth of our nation,” said Sen. Pettyjohn, who has hosted the event for four years.

As a federal holiday, the Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 by the Continental Congress. In this document the 13 American colonies declared themselves a new independent nation.

Independence for the colonies was ultimately gained in the American Revolutionary War, which spanned 1775 to 1783.

Sen. Pettyjohn pointed out this document was signed 240 years ago by men who were businessmen and farmers that “knew that if this great endeavor that they went on failed then they would lose more than their farms. They would lose their families. They would lose their lives. They would be deemed as traitors to the crown.”

“They would lose everything that they have. That is why they pledged their fortunes, their lives to this document and to this great experiment that we are still living right now 240 years later,” Sen. Pettyjohn said. “We have had our trials here in the United States, our tribulations and we have made some mistakes but we are still the greatest country that has ever graced the face of this earth. So we have a lot to be thankful for here today. We have a lot of to be thankful for; and for the men and women who defend our freedom every day as well.”

“It was said that this is the greatest country. That is so true,” said Sheriff Lee. “This is our greatest state, and I believe that this is the greatest county that there is.”

“What I am in awe in regard to all of this is that these people took on a mighty force,” Sheriff Lee added. “If you think about England and the forces that they had. They (colonists) couldn’t turn on the television and see, ‘Well, the polls say that you have a 60-percent chance of winning this conflict.’ They were going by the relationships they had with each other. I think that is pretty amazing in itself.”

“In many ways I find us needing to return to this foundation. When those men signed on to the Declaration of Independence they signed their lives, they signed their fortunes and they signed every fiber in their being to getting the United States established,” said Rep. Briggs king. “I think it is on days like this that we remember and commemorate. And we have come so far from that first declaration, perhaps it’s time for us to declare again.”

“One of the most beautiful things about this is that these were all imperfect people. And today, 240 years later we are a reflection of this body,” said Sen. Lopez. “We don’t always get it right but we do everything that we can day in and day out to serve you.”

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