The tradition of the Greenwich Independence Day ceremony was started 15 years ago by Bea Crumbine.
Today the Independence Day Association of Greenwich continues with an extensive committee.
“There really is more to the 4th of July than barbecues and fireworks,” said Janet Giusti who co-chaired the event with Maggie Wein. “Today we celebrate our American independence, to honor our patriots, our ancestors and those who sacrificed their safety, their fortunes and their very lives to secure our freedom.”
Attending the ceremony were local officials including First Selectman Peter Tesei, Selectmen John Toner and Sandy Litvack, CT State Reps Fred Camillo, Livvy Floren and Steve Meskers, and CT Senator Alex Bergstein.
Bea Crumbine recalled how 15 years ago Serge Gabriel told her he thought it was odd that Greenwich did not have a ceremony for 4th of July to understand the historic basis of the date, especially given Greenwich is a historic Colonial town.
“I’d like to remind myself What Abraham Lincoln wrote about this day and the document we are celebrating,” Mrs. Crumbine said.
“On the 4th day of July 1776, the people of a few feeble and oppressed colonies of Great Britain, inhabiting a portion of the Atlantic coast of North America, publicly declared their national independence and made their appeal to the justice of their cause and to the god of battles for the maintenance of that declaration. That people were few in number and without resources, save only their wise heads and stout hearts.”
First Selectman Peter Tesei congratulated Lucy Capozza who recently became a US citizen after residing in Greenwich for over 30 years.
“She is one of the hardest working people I know. God bless America,” Tesei said.
Mr. Tesei also acknowledged Joe Havranek whose birthday is July 4.
Of Mr. Havranek, who worked for the Greenwich Police Dept for 43 years Tesei said, “It’s a big day for you. You’re a firecracker, we all know.”
“We are gathered today to mark the 243rd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence,” Tesei continued. “It was on July 4 in 1776 that the Continental Congress, by a majority of representatives of the 13 Colonies, including Roger Sherman of Connecticut, voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.”
“It was a most auspicious action establishing our democracy, separating the colonies from the crown of England.”
“What does Independence Day, the 4th of July mean to us?” Tesei asked. “For some it means an extra day off work. For some it is a reason to have a picnic or a barbecue, or perhaps head to the beach. For others it means there is a parade or a chance to light off some fireworks. For all of you gathered here today, the 4th of July is the opportunity to celebrate our illustrious history – both nationally and locally. The 4th of July is an opportunity to celebrate what our country stands for: freedom and liberty.”
Tesei quoted 40th US President Ronald Reagan, saying, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the blood stream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
“With the representation of so many generations gathered here today, we are assured that our future is bright. Our Democracy is alive. It is well. It is thriving. May God Bless America and each of you here today,” Tesei said.
Anna Greco, representing the Greenwich Historical Society, spoke about the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote and the Historical Society’s upcoming exhibition, The Right to Vote: The Women’s Suffrage Movement and Its Legacy.
The exhibition will explore the legacy the suffragettes’ cause as a civic and social movement.
The exhibition runs from Feb 5, 2020 until Sept 6, 2020 in the newly reimagined campus on Strickland Rd in Cos Cob.