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Independence Declared at Florida Capitol

Tom Flanigan

Tallahassee's first patriotic observance on this Fourth of July morning took place at the Historic Florida Capitol. That's where the entire text of the Declaration of Independence was read aloud.

This was the 5th year that long-time veterans' advocate, and now candidate for mayor, Joe West assumed the demeanor and appearance of Benjamin Franklin, to read the famous document in its entirety.

"And by the authority of the good people of these colonies," he intoned, "we solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are and of a right, ought to be free and independent states."

Among those impressed by the reading was Tallahassee National Cemetery Director Raymond Miller. He said hearing the total text drove home just how justified the colonists were in breaking away from England.

"It did not come about because they were just having a bad day," he marveled. "It came about from a history of oppression and different things that were going on at that time."

But it would take a bloody war to turn the Declaration's intent into an actual nation.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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