mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

Independence Day 2007

Nomi and I have two traditions we like to observe on Independence Day, if we can. The first tradition is to go to the Old State House in downtown Boston to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration has been read from the balcony on the Fourth of July every year since 1777. (In 1776, before the Internets, they had to wait for a man on horseback to deliver a copy from Philadelphia, so they held the reading on July 18th.)

The last time we did this was two years ago, which I posted about then under the title What I Did on July 4th -- As Told By Others. (Last year, as folks may recall, Nomi and I went to New York City to visit my Mom. For those who want to read about that trip again, you can find it under the title Independence Day Weekend Trip Report -- With Photos of Forest Hills!) This year, since we were home, we went again. It ended up being a lot more crowded than I remember from two years ago.

We met friends near the Park Street T stop around 9:30 AM and walked over to the Old State House. Because of the crowds, we weren't able to get a spot directly in front, so we found ourselves viewing the balcony from the side:

Old State House Balcony
Old State House Balcony
Members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company read the Declaration of Independence. Photo copyright © 2007 by Nomi S. Burstein.

I had a copy of the Declaration with me, as did Nomi, and as we listened, we followed along with the text. Quite a few people on LiveJournal have noted the similarity of some of the abuses of King George III to the abuses of our current administration. Nomi and I found ourselves ticking off on our fingers which ones we found ourselves. And that's really all I want to say on that topic.

(Well, I will note one more thing. The speaker thanked the men and women of the armed forces, and expressed his hope that they would all soon come home safe and sound. That got the most applause of the morning.)

After the reading, Nomi and I usually go home, but our friends wanted to see what happened next at Faneuil Hall. So we walked over and watched the parade march along:

Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums
Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums
The Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums participate in the festivities. Photo copyright © 2007 by Nomi S. Burstein.

There were also quite a few people around in period garb:

Lady in Costume
Lady in Costume
This young lady, who gives tours of the Freedom Trail, agreed to pose for a picture. Photo copyright © 2007 by Nomi S. Burstein.

And more marchers:

Marchers in Costume
Marchers in Costume
Photo copyright © 2007 by Nomi S. Burstein.

And, as usual, there were representatives from the armed forces around. This time, it was sailors from the USS Bulkeley, who are visiting Boston. Nomi managed to snap this photo as a group of sailors were posing for their own photo:

Sailors from the USS Bulkeley
Sailors from the USS Bulkeley
Photo copyright © 2007 by Nomi S. Burstein.

Around that time, one couple we were with decided to go on a tour of the Freedom Trail, and we managed to connect them with the lady who had allowed us to take her photo. We walked with the other couple back to the T, and because they had a stroller with them, we walked to the Haymarket T with the elevators.

Which meant that we walked right past the Boston Holocaust Memorial.

Boston Holocaust Memorial Monument
Boston Holocaust Memorial Monument
Photo copyright © 2007 by Nomi S. Burstein.

Since I had never actually been to the Memorial, I asked if we could take a few minutes to pass through it. Quite a few others were doing the same thing. For some reason, it seemed appropriate to see it on Independence Day, especially after having read Harold Feld's post on Asher Levy.

This afternoon, Nomi and I observed our other tradition, which is to watch the movie "1776." I've done this for years, using VHS tape and Laserdisc, and now we watch it on DVD. Other friends of ours have picked up this tradition as well, which pleases me. I remember when we once had a group of friends over to watch it; afterwards, one of them told me that this was the first time she had ever done anything for the holiday that actually seemed appropriate. And this year, I got to tell one of my high school classmates at our reunion that we've enjoyed her father's performance in the movie, and I even sang his part for her.

So that was our Independence Day. How was yours?

Copyright © Michael A. Burstein
Tags: boston, brookline, jewish, movies, personal

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