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Bessemer Historical Society members read Declaration of Independence

BESSEMER - To celebrate the U.S.'s liberation from King George and Great Britain on July fourth, the Declaration of Independence was read during Bessemer's week-long celebration Thursday at Ethnic Park.

From start to finish, Connie Pricco, Al Gaiss, Richard Steiger and John Frello read aloud every word of the declaration in front of 10 listeners.

Before they recited it, Pricco told the audience about the history of the document.

"It was Thomas Jefferson who really wrote the Declaration of Independence," she said. "By July second of 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted on Richard Lee's original call for independence. Then, on the fourth of July, they accepted the Declaration of Independence."

As they recited the document, the four took turns reading aloud.

"When in the course of human events ... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they're endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. ... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Pricco said.

To conclude the recitation, all four of them read the famous closing paragraph of the document. " ... And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

"I bet that was pretty darn awesome at the time," Pricco said after concluding the declaration. "They gave everything for freedom, and now we celebrate that."

For the past couple years, Pricco said they've been reciting the declaration as part Bessemer's long-standing Fourth of July celebration.

"Through the Bessemer Historical Society, we thought we should do this on a yearly basis during the Fourth celebration," she said.

Following the recitation, Pricco led the audience on a walking tour around Bessemer.