Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier will speak at the 46th Annual Patriotic Ceremony on Saturday to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day as well as well as the day Illinois’ first state capital was liberated from the British by American Colonel George Rogers Clark.
The ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m. on July 4 at Fort Kaskaskia, just outside of Chester in downstate Randolph County. The event is typically held at the Kaskaskia Bell Memorial, the home of the Liberty Bell of the West, but due to the high water table, it had to be moved.
According to the Wednesday announcement, Karmeier will discuss the history and importance of Kaskaskia and its Liberty Bell, as well as the Magna Carta and Independence Day during his speech.
The Liberty Bell of the West weighs about half as much as the well-known Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, but Kaskaskia’s bell is older. King Louis XV of France sent the 650-pound bell to Kaskaskia as a gift in 1741.
Kaskaskia was at the center of French colonial activity in the area in the 1700s.
The bell was originally housed in a church, but is now displayed in a brick building at a state historic site administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
The ceremony will also include remarks from the mayor of Perryville and others, a re-enactment and patriotic music.
The event is sponsored by the Chester Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, the City of Chester, the Kaskaskia Church Foundation and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.