(Bridgewater, NJ) - Somerset County Freeholder Shanel Robinson (D) has been invited to perform the 125th reading of the Declaration of Independence at the historic annual Independence Day celebration. The event, free and open to the public, will start at 10:30 a.m. on the 4th of July. Run by the Washington Camp Ground Association, it will take place at the Middlebrook Camp Ground in Martinsville (Bridgewater) (GPS address: located at 1761 Middlebrook Rd, Bound Brook, NJ 08805). The public is asked to arrive by 10 a.m. while patriotic music is played. Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. Parking is limited so carpool or walk if possible.
“I am honored to have been chosen as the reader for the 125th event. The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in the history of the United States. As Freeholder and an Air Force Veteran, I truly feel great pride in being part of such a historic tradition of local and national importance,” remarked Freeholder Robinson. The Declaration was an official act taken by all 13 American colonies in declaring independence from British rule.
The celebration commemorates the encampment of the fledgling American Army in the area from May 28 to July 2, 1777 and again from December 1778 to June 1779. The Middlebrook Camp Ground, where George Washington's Troops camped, is also the location where the first official American flag, a 13-star flag designed by Francis Hopkinson, was flown in 1777 for the first time over troops. There is a special act of Congress which allows the flag to be flown at this site 24 hours a day without lighting.
Events happening at the annual celebration, aside from the traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence, include the lowering of the American flag, raising a new flag, singing the National Anthem and awarding the American Citizenship Award to outstanding 6th Graders from local schools.
The park was established in 1894. Legend has it that the land was donated to the Washington Camp Ground Association by George LaMonte of Bound Brook, NJ on the condition that the Declaration of Independence is read every 4th of July, or the land would revert to the heirs of the LaMonte family who donated it. This has occurred for 124 consecutive years.
In 1907 more than 2,000 people marched in a parade from Bound Brook to the campground to celebrate Independence Day. What made that parade memorable was that it was the first reported parade in the United States that included a procession of automobiles.
For more information about this Celebration or to join the Camp Ground Association, please call Robert Fazen, President, Washington Camp Ground Assoc. at 732-735-1382, or email [email protected]