My favorite part of our July 4th celebrations is always the reading of the Declaration of Independence on Salem Common or, as on this past rainy Fourth, in the ballroom of the Hawthorne Hotel. It’s not the flashiest, or the most fun, or the tastiest of all of our celebratory events, but it’s the one that makes me truly proud and grateful to be an American.
Yes, the Declaration is a little long. And I don’t personally relate to every offense Mr. Jefferson cited, but it does makes me stop and think. Dann Anthony Maurno brings it to life…and brings home just how frighteningly radical that Declaration was for the Colonists. They considered themselves English after all.
I kept thinking back to the reading of Declaration all weekend, the words and the pure defiance of the act resonating across picnics and parades and fireworks. Thank you, Hannah Diozzi for orchestrating this each year, to the Hawthorne Hotel, and all who participated. If you missed the reading this year, do put it on your calendar for 2015.
Now, about those other dates…
Does July 19th mean anything to you? How about August 19th or September 22nd? Those are the dates on which most of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials were executed. Again, not merry-go-round moments, but important ones. If you stop by the Salem Witch Trials Memorial behind the PEM at noon on those dates, the staff of the Corwin House (The Witch House) will be holding a brief ceremony to honor those who died, the victims of fear, feuds and a failed judicial system. (Thank you, Elizabeth Peterson and team.)
The Trials are not just a part of our history, but of how we define ourselves today as a city of acceptance and tolerance. In fact, the purpose of the Salem Award Foundation is to bring forward the lessons from 1692 and apply them to contemporary issues of human rights abuses and social injustice.
Why not take a few minutes at noon this Saturday, July 19th. Or mark your calendar for August 19th or September 22nd. Stop by the Memorial for a moment of remembrance and a reminder of the injustices that are part of our world today.
- Posted by guest blogger Shelby Hypes for the Salem Award Foundation