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VFW carries on annual Declaration of Independence ceremony, July 4
Open-air event 10 a.m. Monday in front of Judicial Annex
Veterans John Kitchens, front center left, and Mike Cox, center right, senior vice commander and commander, respectively, of VFW Boswell A. Johnson Post 10825, fold the flag while in background Felix Loya, center, and Justin Williams, right, respectively
Veterans John Kitchens, front center left, and Mike Cox, center right, senior vice commander and commander, respectively, of VFW Boswell A. Johnson Post 10825 fold the flag during the 2021 Fourth of July Observance in front of the Bulloch County Judicial Annex. The 2022 Fourth of July Observance is set for 10 a.m. Monday. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

Monday beginning at 10 a.m., VFW Boswell A. Johnson Post 10825 will again host an open-air Fourth of July observance centered on a public reading of the Declaration of Independence, near the flagpole in front of the Bulloch County Judicial Annex at 20 Siebald Street.

The public is welcome and, indeed, encouraged to attend. Members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post do this to remind people of the origins of Independence Day and what was at stake when the Declaration was signed in 1776.

Last year’s event, attended by about 30 people, also included a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance and featured the ceremonial folding of the United States flag, with veterans reciting a symbolic meaning accorded each fold. The Bulloch County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard assisted with the presentation of flags.

But the core ritual is the recitation of the entire Declaration of Independence. VFW members take turns reading sections of the document, which Dean Rakoskie, one of last year’s readers, called a long but powerful “birth certificate.”

“It is every bit as powerful today as I envision it was 245 years ago when it was written," he said last July. "It led to the establishment of a nation, an imperfect nation based on fundamental principles that all human beings are created equal and that they have inherent dignity that no one should be allowed to deny or attempt to suppress."

Rakoskie, now VFW Department of Georgia junior vice commander, is a past Post 10825 commander, district commander and state judge advocate. Also one of the organizers, he says he hopes to add, at the end of this year’s ceremony, having the group sing or recite one stanza and the refrain from “America the Beautiful.”

Bottled water will also be provided, and the event is expected to last about an hour or slightly longer, he said. 

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