10 Jul 2018


Who can forget the heart-wrenching scene in the final minutes of the blockbuster hit Braveheart. William Wallace (aka Mel Gibson) musters his last ounce of strength, raises his head and utters the guttural shout heard round the world – FREEDOM! With the celebration of our nation’s liberty on the calendar last week it seems the appropriate time to pause and consider what a fortunate people we are to live in the land of the free.
Steeped in history and patriotism, Nantucket Island is the ideal place to celebrate Independence Day. Beginning in late June, the island gets all dolled up in her best red, white and blue attire. The freedom of expression is evident as homes and businesses are adorned with patriotic banners and flags, window boxes are accented with tri-colored blossoms and automobiles proudly display July 4th themed wreaths and flags.
Nowhere was “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” more evident than on Main Street Nantucket as thousands convened to celebrate their independence. Outfitted in all things red, white and blue and donning silly hats and face paint, revelers old and young participated in pie and watermelon eating contests, dropped giddily into the dunk tank and ultimately vied for a section of the fire hose for the legendary water fight.
In years past, the most meaningful event of the day took place on the makeshift stage in the center of Main Street, where colonial clad volunteers read aloud from the Declaration of Independence. Standing on Nantucket soil, where America’s roots run deep (after all Benjamin Franklin’s mother was born here!), emotions are stirred as we listened to the words “that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” As William Wallace also said, “It’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom.”
If you missed the festivities this year, make plans for next summer to come celebrate Independence Day on Nantucket. Bring along your Uncle Sam hat, try your chance at a pie eating blue ribbon and plan to join thousands of island residents and visitors off Jetties Beach at twilight as the holiday week culminates with a dazzling display of star spangled fireworks and an outburst of applause for the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Let freedom ring.
Shellie Dunlap
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