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Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

On the Fourth of July, we think of the joys of the summer to come. The hot sun and cool seabreezes.  The red, white and blue of lobsters, sails and sparkling ocean.  The evening show of fireflies and “campfires” (our s’mores parties come to mind, as well as the new barbecue grills).

Still, 150 years ago on July 4th, Mainer Joshua Chamberlain – divinity student and college professor turned citizen-soldier – was still reeling from the effects of holding the line at Little Round Top at Gettysburg.  Historians credit him and his 5th Maine Regiment, for turning the tide of the Civil War. And on a hot, humid day 237 years ago in Philadelphia, John Hancock, John Adams, Sam Adams, Elbridge Gerry and Robert Treat Paine stood for Maine and Massachusetts in pledging their “lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” by signing the Declaration of Independence. 

In Boothbay, the Fourth is about family gatherings – to watch the fireworks over the harbor, or marvel at how big the grandchildren have grown. It’s a day for draping the bunting, hanging the flag and “dressing ship” in colorful signal flags. And above all, it’s a holiday that’s meant for remembering, and counting the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  A few more of those oceanside memories, made in Maine.