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At Independence Hall, Echoes of a Public Proclamation 238 Years Ago

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Independence National Historical Park today marked 238 years since the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, four days after it was adopted by the Continental Congress.

A reënactor portraying Col. John Nixon read the words of the document to hundreds assembled today in Independence Park, behind Independence Hall.

"When in the course of human events..."

Jane Cowley of the National Park Service says today's event is an echo of history.

"This was the first time the public got to hear the document in its entirety, and react," she explains.

Out in the crowd, there were actors and reactors, each playing a part.

"If you love liberty, support King George III!  Read this treasonous document," said one.

"The list of actions against the King are quite clear, sir," responded another.

One modern-day observer in the crowd, Erinn Byers of Brick, NJ, was thrilled.

"It was amazing.  It was like living history," she said.


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