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Celebrate America - 2014






For 2014 Independence of America celebration, you are invited to participate in an event you probably have not experienced before, but after this you may want to incorporate it into your future 4th of Julys.

James River Hikers - Hiking with History is going to have an Independence Day Declaration Ceremony and party.

Thomas Jefferson put it: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

As we are as much a history club as a hiking club, we are taking this opportunity to reconnect to our heritage, channel the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and rediscover the meaning behind our country's creation.


Each participant will take on the role of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  You will discover for yourself the personal history of that signer and you will in turn share that history with the others.


As part of the ceremony, each participant signer will actually sign the Declaration of Independence.

The ceremony will be in the form of a ritual drawing its inspiration from one of the most enduring rituals in the world: the Jewish Passover Seder.

For thousands of years, the Passover Seder has helped Jews around the world to remember that they are descendants of an enslaved people who were liberated by the mighty hand of God. The Founders of the United States (including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and others) were all well-versed in the Bible and knew the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. They viewed their break from England as a new exodus; so much so that Franklin and Jefferson wanted the seal of the newly-formed United States to depict the Israelites escaping across the Red Sea.

Even though that design was not chosen, the original historical inspiration still remains. Like the Passover seder, the Fourth of July Declaration Ceremony is a powerful ritual that helps us transmit our love for this country to our children and grandchildren.

This is strictly a non-partisan event, and I guarantee ever flavor of politics will find this experience educational, interesting and perhaps even inspirational.

We will meet at the south eastern section of Riverview Cemetery at the same place where we begin so many of our hikes on the James River trails.  As you enter the cemetery complex, be sure you take the Riverview Cemetery on the left and not the Mt. Calvary Cemetery on the right.  After entering the cemetery take the second road to your right, just past the flagpole, and continue on the winding roads until you get to the river.  You will park your car on in the grassy area where you will literally be able to see the river from where you are parked.

Bring food and drinks and lawn chairs.  We're going to have a party! Bring the dogs. Bring the kids. They will get a lot out of the ceremony, and those in middle/high school age have special roles to play.

Here is the schedule for the evening:

6:00 Arrive at the cemetery.  Take on the role of a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Socialize  and share your new found knowledge with the others.  All materials etc. will be provided by the host.

7:30 Declaration Ceremony

8:45 Sunset

We are all going to learn a lot, and it's going to be a fun time too.

Questions?  Call or text me at[masked]-4943.

One more thing.  I suggest you bring mosquito repellant as the critters may be hungry after the sun sets.


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  • Dennis B.

    As our 4th of July Celebrate America Meetup approaches, I offer you another opportunity to choose which Delegate you will represent.

    Upon your 6 pm arrival at Riverview Cemetery you will become one of the fifty-six Delegates and will play-act that person for the evening. You will be provided a handout about your Delegate, but you may want to decide in advance who you will be and do some background research yourself.

    Here is a listing of all the Delegates broken down by the Colonies they represented:­...;­

    Here is an account of what some of the Delegates experienced:­...;­

    Thus far the following Delegates have been claimed:
    John Hancock

    Robert Morris

    Sam Adams

    George Clymer

    Edward Rutledge

    Richard Henry Lee

    Ben Franklin

    1 · June 30, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      How many are you expecting on the 4th?

      June 30, 2014

2 went

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