‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  A patriot waves the new American flag toward a group of British loyalists during a special reenactment at Sycamore Shoals State Park in honor of Independence Day.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
A patriot waves the new American flag toward a group of British loyalists during a special reenactment at Sycamore Shoals State Park in honor of Independence Day.

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Those words rang through the fort at Sycamore Shoals State Park Saturday afternoon during a special Independence Day celebration that hearkened to the period of time when America declared its independence from England.

The weekend included a variety of activities including historic re-enactments, militia drills and artillery demonstrations.

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On Saturday, though, historic interpreters gave park visitors a glimpse of what life on the frontier may have been like when the members of the Watauga Settlement learned freedom had been declared.

A lookout on the fort wall cried out that a post courier was approaching, and when he arrived at the fort, he presented a document and a flag to the militia leaders. After a brief discussion, the militia leaders returned the document to the courier and he read aloud the Declaration of Independence, his words echoing through the fort as re-enactors and visitors alike stood in rapt attention.

After the declaration was read, the British flag was lowered and the new American flag was raised to fly high above the fort as many of the re-enactors cheered.