What did some of our local leaders do on July 4?

Governor Deval Patrick

The governor marched in the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade and spent time with family, said Kyle Sullivan, the governor’s press secretary.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino

Boston’s mayor participated in the city’s annual Independence Day celebrations, which included a ceremony at City Hall Plaza, followed by a short parade to the Old Granary Burial Ground to place wreaths on the graves of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine and Peter Faneuil. The parade proceeded to the Old State House for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. He also spoke at Faneuil Hall and attended a neighborhood celebration in Readville, said Nick Martin, a Menino spokesman.

Most of us spent this past Fourth of July with friends, booze, barbecue and fireworks. The holiday is anchored by gluttonous celebration: stuffing your face with hot dogs and drinking the extra beer (or ten) is completely customary. As young people feverishly enjoyed our day off from work, rarely do we consider the deep historical meaning behind our partying.


Historic New England owns and operates 36 historic homes and landscapes spanning five states.

Carl Nold, President and CEO of the regional heritage organization, Historic New England, thinks that although we may not have considered it in depth this past Saturday, we should think about what the celebration was truly about.

“At a time when there are so many controversies around the world it is important to recognize how important our freedom is” he said in a recent interview with Blast.‚  “Too often we take that for granted, because it’s always been there. But it was hard fought.”

Nold runs an entire organization dedicated to bringing the people of New England an understanding of our history. It was founded 99 years ago to help preserve buildings that were being destroyed by rapid development.‚  Currently, they have 36 historic site museums in the five New England states, ranging from 17th century buildings to the Walter Gropius house of 1938.‚  They have more than 1.2 million books in their library and archive as well as the largest collection of domestic items anywhere.

Finding history undyingly fascinating, Nold is bothered that people associate history with stodgy school lessons.

“History truly is everything that has happened even up to a minute ago” he said. “If you think of it that way, it becomes more personal.‚  It is about you and your life. It isn’t just out there in the past.”‚  Seeing history from this perspective, Nold urges young people to get more involved in learning about the past, especially in New England, where the foundations of this country were built. He sees an understanding of our history as not only beneficial but completely essential, especially in this trying economic time. “It can bring us a better understanding of why things are the way they are” he siad.

One interesting site to check out is the exhibit on New England kitchens at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord, which chronicles the importance of kitchens in American culture, by exhibiting domestic items from the colonial times to the present.

You might not have been thinking of the Revolutionary War as you prepared your burgers for the grill last Saturday, but perhaps now you should revisit the kitchen, this time to learn something.

For more information about Historic New England visit their website at http://www.historicnewengland.org/ or follow them on twitter @HistoricNE.

About The Author

Alana Levinson is a Blast staff writer

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