'...We hold these truths ...'
With each passing year, Catasauqua's July 4 reading of the Declaration of Independence gets bigger and better. In keeping with local tradition, American Legion Post 215, presented the colors and a 21-gun salute.
With the parking lot at the historic George Taylor House filled to overflowing and the lawn reserved with chairs, the Rev. Bob Stevens, pastor of the Zion Reformed United Church of Christ, Allentown, read the Declaration of Independence. The stage was set at the recently installed George Taylor commemorative memorial on the property once owned by Taylor, who was a signer of the Declaration.
Today's Zion church, a German Reformed Church during the American Revolution, hid the Liberty Bell from the British. A museum is attached to the church detailing the story.
Stevens dressed for the reading in Colonial period garb that would have been worn by Abraham Blumer, the pastor of the church when the Liberty Bell arrived.
"We continue to expand our local education efforts," said Stevens. Recently the museum received state certification as an educational improvement organization.
"We have tours for third-grade students where we take them on a tour of the museum. There is also a kid-sized version of a Conestoga wagon that gives the kids a look at what it was like to cross the prairie," said Stevens.
A band of local musicians performed some patriotic selections at the event, under the direction of former Catasauqua resident and U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kenneth Serfass. He had driven to Pennsylvania from his current home in Ramona, Calif., to participate in the Catasauqua event and also to take part in the 150th anniversary observance of the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg.
Serfass came dressed for the occasion, wearing a replica of the red-coated uniform of the U.S. Marine Band worn in the 1860s.
He attended the July 4 ceremony along with a friend, Darrell Rivers, who came dressed as Catasauqua's renowned citizen, industrialist David Thomas.
"We are on our way to Coronets and Cannons, a massing of military bands at Gettysburg," Serfass said.
In Ramona, Serfass directs the Antebellum Marine Band, a group of experienced musicians who perform music of the historic antebellum era.
Following the July 4 ceremony on the lawn, the Catasauqua Borough Recreation Committee, headed by Councilwoman Jessica Kroope, opened the George Taylor House for tours which were well attended by visitors.