NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — The spirit of freedom is alive in New Bern, and at Tryon Palace, people on Saturday were more than willing to celebrate after a year in lockdown.
“Last year, like with so many organizations and families, we were not able to have, other than a virtual, July Fourth celebration,” says Bill McCrea, the Executive Director of Tryon Palace.
This year’s Glorious Fourth celebration was a bit different than last year, in more ways than one. The celebration kicks off each year at Tryon Palace with several rituals occurring throughout the day, including a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
This year, event coordinators added a Land Acknowledgement section before the Declaration.
“We recognize the palace, historic site, is situated on lands were lands that were occupied by the Tuscarora, Nusciok, and Lumbee Indian nations,” says Matt Arthur, the Living History Coordinator for Tryon Palace.
This year’s Independence Day takes on an added layer of celebrations, like for the Futrelle family who had to quarantine when George, the dad, got COVID-19.
“You talking about freedom, we’re just thankful to be out and about,” George Futrelle said.
The Futrelle family visited the ceremony from Mount Olive. They said walking on these lands is like stepping back in time.
“It makes you feel so patriotic. I love history anyway, and I cannot imagine anyone not having feelings of patriotism stir up, and seeing reenactors in their uniforms, it brings it to life,” Futrelle said.
McCrea said the Fourth of July event is just the beginning of the celebrations for the rest of the year.
“It’s hard to plan when you don’t know what the restrictions are going to be,” McCrea said. “But now that they’re lifted, we’re working to come back with our programs, our lectures, our events.”
Watch the full reading of the Declaration of Independence Day event in the video above.