Last Week, July 3 A July 4th Family Barbeque and Special Guest Thomas Melvill

Posted By rotary

Last week Rotarians celebrated Independence Day with a barbeque-style meal, with family and friends in attendance, along with a very special guest. Thomas Melvill, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, spoke to the club about life in the time of the American Revolution.

An officer in the American Revolution, Major Melvill served with Paul Revere in the artillery and was a company commander. He was appointed by President George Washington to be Inspector of the Port of Boston, and was reappointed by Presidents Adams, Jefferson and Madison.

Melvill entertained Rotarians with stories of the complexities of those days around July 2—the truly significant day, he reminded us, when the voting took place, not two days later when the famous Declaration was formally drafted, circulated and signed. He recalled the significant divisions among colonists’ delegations in Delaware, and the courage it took to formally declare what the closing lines of the Declaration signaled as rebellion against the English Crown: The colonists pledged their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” to their common cause, and the 56 who signed knew theirs was an act of treason punishable by death.

Melvill also reminded Rotarians—in their comfortable, festive surroundings—of the sacrifices that followed. “Were not many sacrifices made for your celebration today?” he asked. He then told stories of later revolutionaries—women and slaves among them—who fought with courage for the cause. He reminded us not to celebrate merely a day on the calendar, July4,but IndependenceDay,asacreddaythatshouldnotbeforgotten.“In our merriment,” he asked, “do we sometimes forget the sacrifices that men and women have made?” Not that we shouldn’t take the time to celebrate “with good cheer,” of course. But Melvill also challenged us to “take a quiet moment to reflect” on the meaning of the day, and to live lives that “warrant the continued favor of Providence on our nation.” 



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