All residents and visitors are called to Rockport's town square — Dock Square — next Wednesday at 10 a.m. for a reading of the document that led to the day's national celebration as the birth of American independence.
This is the second year that the Rockport Rotary Club has hosted this Fourth of July event at the Main Street square, where copies of the Declaration of Independence will be available for those who want to read along.
"We were inspired by the suggestion of a resident who felt as if it would be a nice addition to the way we celebrate the date and to really celebrate the meaning of the Fourth of July," says Daphne Congelosi, a Rotary Club member. "It gives people the opportunity to hear and read along with the very document that the holiday is all about."
Chuck Francis, in the role of town crier, will ring the bell to call townspeople and visitors to Dock Square.
"The town crier would have read it in all the villages," Congelosi said. "Once the Declaration was signed, it went out across the land and was read to the townspeople."
The historic document was approved on July 4, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress approved the declaration in Philadelphia at what is now known as Independence Hall.
Laurene Wessel, the new president of the local Rotary Club, noted that among the participants in next Wednesday's event will be a Japanese exchange student, Rina Takahashi, whose visit here was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Omihachiman-shi, Shiga, Japan.
The student recently turned 18 and attended Rockport High School as a junior. Her senior year is already under way in Japan, and she will graduate in January. She returns to Japan on July 5. She also will be part of the Rockport Rotary Club float for the parade.
"Our float theme this year is world peace and understanding," Wessel said.
America is not just all about apple pie, but also chocolate chip cookies and the student picked up on the American treat.
"Rina is a superb baker and loves chocolate chip cookies," Wessel said. "She is collecting cookie recipes, and wants to open the first cookie shop in Japan."
Gail McCarthy may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.