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Celebrate Fourth with 'Liberty Bell of the West'

 
Submitted by Illinois Department of Natural Resources
updated: 6/28/2022 4:33 PM

The public is invited to attend the 52nd annual patriotic ceremony celebrating our nation's independence at 1 p.m. Monday, July 4, at the Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial on Kaskaskia Island.

The Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial houses the "Liberty Bell of the West," which was cast in 1741 and presented by France as a gift to the Catholic Church of the Illinois Country. Originally located at the Immaculate Conception Parish at Kaskaskia, the bell was rung by villagers to celebrate their July 4, 1778, liberation from the British by American Colonel George Rogers Clark. In later years, it became known as the "Liberty Bell of the West."

This year's July 4 program will feature remarks by Justice David Overstreet, member of the Illinois Supreme Court from the Fifth Judicial District.

Music will be performed by the Chester Municipal Band with vocalist Steve Colonel. A rifle volley from historic interpreters Les Compagnie Franche de La Marine at de Fort de Chartres will accompany the patriotic celebration. Pastor Jim Oppedal of First United Methodist Church will offer the invocation and benediction. The Stanley and Mary Hurst Family are the Honorary Bell Ringers. A plate lunch, sandwiches and other refreshments will be available at 11 a.m. Visitors should bring lawn chairs for the program.

The program is hosted by the Chester Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, the City of Chester, area Scout troops, the Kaskaskia Church Foundation, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).