Both cheers and boos erupted at different times in Rockport's town square Wednesday morning when a crowd gathered to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July.
Dozens of residents as well as dozens of visitors came to Dock Square to celebrate the birth of the nation's independence with the reading of the document that led to the national celebration of July Fourth as the birth of American independence.
Chuck Francis, in the role of town crier, called the group to Dock Square by ringing a bell, with the help of musical accompaniment.
"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another," he began.
"... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he continued.
Listeners ranged in age from toddlers to octogenarians who took part in the second annual Rockport Rotary Club event to commemorate the roots of the Fourth of July. The Declaration was approved on July 4, 1776, when members of the Second Continental Congress signed off on the document at what is now known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Paul Murphy, town selectman, former history teacher and long-time assistant principal of Manchester Essex Regional High School, brought his entire family to the square.
A family of history buffs here on vacation read about the event while at the Strudel Shop on Bearskin Neck. Diane and Bob Morgan, who now reside in Tennessee, used to live in Annisquam and had a shop on Bearskin Neck called Uncle Buzz's. When they learned of the reading, they knew the entire family would want to go.
The couple brought their two daughters, Genevieve Braun, 30, and her sister, Rebecca Mogan, 29, who is a Civil War aficionado and works at the Battle of Franklin Trust in Tennessee. The third generation of the family was represented by Braun's two daughters, Evangeline, 4, and 18-month old Cecily.
"We love coming back because of the history in this area," said Diane Mogan. "This is like the birthplace of American independence. It's an important event to remember and it's important for the younger kids to learn about it."
"It's great to be here at this time in a place where you can touch history and learn about history," she said.
As the Declaration signers were named and colonies were announced, there were cheers of approval from various contingents in the crowd — but there were also round of boos when the litany of abuses suffered by the colonies at the hands of the British throne were read out loud, further championing thecase for independence.
Daphne Congelosi, a Rotary Club member and organizer, was pleased at the turnout.
"It gives people the opportunity to hear and read along with the very document that the holiday is all about," she said.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at email@example.com.