Tradition reigns as St. Paul's celebrates July 4th for the 139th time

Tradition reigns supreme in Mount Vernon as historic St. Paul's Church is celebrating the Fourth of July for the 139th time today.

News 12 Staff

Jul 4, 2022, 3:32 PM

Updated 683 days ago

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Tradition reigns supreme in Mount Vernon as historic St. Paul's Church is celebrating the Fourth of July for the 139th time today.
"We're commemorating continuing a tradition of how people celebrated July 4th in the 19th century," says David Osborn, St. Paul’s Church site supervisor.
The church itself is a historic landmark.  It served as a medical hospital during the American Revolution.
The celebration, as the tradition holds, includes a live band, reading of the Declaration of Independence, and 13 tolls of the bell.
“That bell was actually here at the time of the American Revolution," says Osborne.
One of the longest running tradition is the a reading of the Declaration of Independence by John Banning. Banning says his family has been doing the reading since the very first ceremony, starting with his grandfather in the 1800s, then his father, then himself. Today is Banning’s 49th reading.
The responsibility has been handed down by generations to keep tradition alive.
"It began with my grandfather…He was the youngest of 10, I'm the youngest of three. Next year it'll be my 50th I hope," says Banning.
Next year will be John's last read, then he'll hand it down to his youngest son Karl.


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