Rocky Mount Museum in Piney Flats will be celebrating the nation’s independence the way it was celebrated in the late 1700s.
At 1 p.m. Thursday, July 4, there will be a ceremonial reading of the Declaration of Independence. Following the reading, the militia will shoot a volley using 18th-century style flintlock muskets and rifles. Throughout the day visitors will be invited to tie a ribbon on the Liberty Tree, and each visitor will receive a complementary copy of the Declaration of Independence. There is no charge to participate in this event.
Living History Tours will be given from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last tour starting at 4 p.m. Regular admission prices apply: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children ages 5 and older. All Rocky Mount Historical Association discounts apply.
Beginning in 1777 — one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed — Americans started celebrating the Fourth of July. Parades, fireworks, firing of guns, ringing of bells, decorating with patriotic colors, food and toasts were all a part of the first celebrations. Before and during the American Revolution, the Sons of Liberty met under an elm tree in Boston, which they named the “Liberty Tree.” They protested British policy, hung banners and lanterns and assembled to express their views. News of the Boston Liberty Tree spread throughout the colonies, and many towns established their own Sons of Liberty groups and Liberty Trees.
During the British occupation of Boston, British soldiers cut down the Liberty Tree and used it as firewood, knowing it to be a symbol for the patriots. The Liberty Tree was included in the design of many of the first American flags used during the Revolution. Rocky Mount will honor the Liberty Trees and the Sons of Liberty by inviting visitors to tie a ribbon to Rocky Mount’s designated Liberty Tree.
Rocky Mount is located at 200 Hyder Hill Road, Piney Flats. For more information, call 1-888-538-1791 (toll free) or 538-7396.