By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — July 4th is Independence Day, but it wasn’t until July 8th that most colonists found out about the secret happenings going on inside Independence Hall.

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Today, a large crowd gathered in Independence Square, on the Walnut Street side of Independence Hall, for a reënactment of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, in 1776.

(Photo by Mike Dougherty)

(Photo by Mike Dougherty)


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal!”

There were mixed feelings when Colonel John Nixon reads Thomas Jefferson’s words to a crowd in 1776.  Some believed this was a death sentence.

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Sandra and her family came from Austin, Tex. to Philadelphia for a historic vacation.  She says today’s event was really cool to see.

“Hearing it, having the characters add to it, it’s almost like you can imagine being there, way back when,” she told KYW Newsradio.

Jane Cowley, an official with Independence National Historical Park, says this is the 37th year of the reënactment.

“I love this day in particular,” she says.  “This is so much fun because it just really brings the history to life.”

Visitors were given copies of the Declaration of Independence printed from a restored antique printing press.

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