The 21st annual July 4th Ceremony, sponsored by the Edenton Tea Party Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) will be held at the Joseph Hewes Monument on the Historic 1767 Chowan Courthouse Green on Saturday, July 4, beginning at 10 a.m.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the yearly traditional ceremony honoring Joseph Hewes, Edenton’s signer of the Declaration of Independence, will be held as planned. This has always been an immensely meaningful part of the local Independence Day observation and the Edenton Tea Party Chapter NSDAR is thrilled to be able to sponsor this event in the shadow of the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse again this year.
Virginia Wood, an Edenton Tea Party Chapter NSDAR member for almost 35 years, had a vision of a community July 4th ceremony to be held on the Old Courthouse Green that would include reading the Declaration of Independence in its entirety. Wood also envisioned that a biographical history of Joseph Hewes would be presented at his monument. Hewes, along with William Hooper and John Penn, was a North Carolina signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Wood’s vision quickly became a reality. She presented her hopes and dreams to then Chapter Regent Beth Taylor (who has been an Edenton Tea Party Chapter member for almost 40 years) and the first July 4 Ceremony was born six weeks later.
Again this year, the American Legion Edward G. Bond Post 40, under the leadership of Commander Maureen Sobulefsky, will post the colors as they have for the past 21 years. Boy Scout Troop 164, which is sponsored by the Edward G. Bond Post 40, will also assist with the ceremony. The American Legion, which was chartered by Congress in 1919 is a patriotic veteran’s organization, focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities. The Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Today, membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide.
Beth Taylor, Ceremony Chairman, along with Sandra Sperry, Edenton Tea Party Chapter Regent, will welcome citizens to the ceremony. Plans are for the Unanimity Lodge No. 7 AF & AM, of which Hewes was a member, to lay the ceremonial wreath. Clara King, chaplain of the Edenton Tea Party Chapter, will lead the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and The American’s Creed. The Rev. Valerie Tyson, pastor of the Edenton United Methodist Church, will lead the assembly in opening prayers, and the National Anthem will be sung by Deborah Perry.
A biographical sketch of Hewes will be given by Patti Finnegan Kersey, chairman of the Chowan County Commissioners. The Declaration of Independence will be read, in its entirety, by Chowan County Commissioner Larry McLaughlin.
The Benediction will be given by Rev. Tyson, the closing song will be offered by Perry and the American Legion Post 40 will retire the Colors.
The Edenton Tea Party Chapter, NSDAR welcomes and encourages everyone to attend this eloquent and historic celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and to honor the memory of Hewes.