At Monday’s Independence Day ceremony at Greenwich Town Hall, Master of Ceremonies Ed Dadakis said the annual event was a culmination of a great deal of work by the Independence Day Association. He introduced Bea Crumbine who had the vision and creativity to imagine the annual flag raising several years ago, and was appointed by former First Selectman Peter Tesei to be Greenwich’s Good Will Ambassador.
Elected officials in attendance included US Congressman Jim Himes, Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, Selectwoman Lauren Rabin, Selectwoman Janet Stone McGuigan, State Rep Steve Meskers (D-150), State Rep Harry Arora (R-151), State Rep Kimberly Fiorello (R-149) and State Senator Ryan Fazio (R-36).
First Selectman Fred Camillo talked about the American Revolutionary War and Greenwich’s role in that conflict.
“As we look out at these beautiful wide streets, we must remember that for seven years they were scenes of battles. Greenwich was known around Connecticut as the frontier between the enemy and the state,” Camillo said. “Westchester County was in British hands. So was Long Island. And at times four-fifths of our town was under control of the loyalists.”
“And when we think back to the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and how they risked everything, including their lives – because what they did, according to the Crown was High Treason, and the penalty for that was death,” Camillo continued. “Five of them were captured and tortured. And many like them died around the country, and even here in Greenwich there were 39 patriots who lost everything. Their properties were sold at auction to help finance the war debt for Britain.”
Camillo urged people to remember the cost of freedom and the sacrifices of patriots in Greenwich during the American Revolution.
Mary Ellen LeBein reminded the crowd that Monday marked the 246th birthday of the United States, and in two weeks, on July 18, Founders Day will mark the town’s 382nd birthday.
She said that in 1640 Robert Feake and Daniel Patrick purchased the land known as Greenwich from native Americans, and Elizabeth Feake purchased “the neck,” which became known as Elizabeth’s Neck and later Tod’s Point, and today is known as Greenwich Point.
Robert Feake and Daniel Patrick offered 25 coats to purchase the land. The deed of sale was signed on July 18, 1640, and a copy of the deed is in bronze on Founders Rock at Greenwich Point.
Some of the other highlights of the event included Stefanie Kies leading everyone in The Star-Spangled Banner. US Army Cadet James Heavey led the crowd in The Pledge of Allegiance. Greenwich Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and other children did select readings of the Declaration of Independence.
Descendants of the Revolutionary War Patriots were asked to stand. Later, the names of citizens of the Town of Greenwich who gave their lives during the American Revolutionary War were read aloud:
Joseph Banks, Daniel Carter, Samuel Close, Daniel Darrow, Thomas Hitchcock Sr, Nathaniel Jessup, Samuel Knapp, Stephan Knapp, Timothy Lockwood Jr, Ebson Mead, Solomon Mead, Sylvanus Mead, Zabid Palmer, Benjamin Reynolds, Jonathan Reynolds and John Rundle.
After a moment of silence there was a 21-gun salute courtesy of the Greenwich Police Dept Honor Guard.
Thank you to the Independence Day Association for organizing the event.