• August 1, 2014

Harker Heights celebrates America’s birthday by ringing in a new July Fourth tradition

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Posted: Friday, July 4, 2014 11:45 pm

HARKER HEIGHTS — President John F. Kennedy made a proclamation on Independence Day, July 4, 1963.

With the words, “Let’s ring freedom bells,” the nationwide ringing of the bells began.

But it wasn’t until last year that Joyce Meyer read a Dear Abby column and discovered the proclamation and wondered if Heights could add the tradition to its citywide Independence Day celebration.

“I just felt like it was an easy, simple way to celebrate the freedoms we have in America,” Meyer said. “I emailed the City Council and asked if they would consider it.”

Event coordinator Nichole Broemer loved the idea, mostly owing to its simplicity.

“We can do that here for no cost,” she said.

Meyer said she was shocked when a short time later, Heights’ Mayor Rob Robinson presented a proclamation stating the city would add the tradition.

The basic premise is to ring “freedom bells” 13 times to honor the 13 original colonies, while towns and cities across the nation do the same — simultaneously at

1 p.m.

“When it was my brought to my attention, I knew it would be an instant hit,” Robinson said.

According to Meyer, the mayor was right. She said the diversity of the audience at City Hall on Friday really took her by surprise.

“We had young adults, teens, and senior citizens all here, together to celebrate our nation’s birthday.”

A bell choir was created to perform the ringing while onlookers rang their own bells.

Leslie Holman offered the services of a few of the members of the Joyful Noise bell choir from Harker Heights United Methodist Church, and Meyer quickly accepted.

“When she said it, I knew she was kidding, but I thought it was a wonderful idea,” Meyer said.

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