With the 236th anniversary of the country coming up this Wednesday, the Friends of the Herkimer Home held its annual Independence Day service inside the walls of the historic Fort Herkimer Church on Sunday.
The non-denominational service struck a patriotic tone with its readings and the American flag draped on the podium at the front of the church. The service included Dain Faville singing “The Sons of Liberty” and “Revolutionary Key” during the service, featuring John Schuyler.
The Pledge of Allegiance and the Prayer of the United States of America were read. There was also a reading of Psalm 38, which Gen. Nicholas Herkimer read on his deathbed after leading the fight at the Battle of Oriskany during the Revolutionary War.
Brian Heffron, site interpreter at the Herkimer Home, spoke about the inspiration behind Francis Scott Key’s “Star-spangled Banner,” which happened 200 years ago at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. He then read the lyrics to the song which has become the country’s national anthem.
Heffron said the event started as a way for members of the Herkimer Home to get together, but later opened it up to the public.
“The central thing is this is a very busy week for a lot of people. So this is a chance to be able to pause and come together and celebrate and memorialize in a historic context,” said Heffron. “For a week that can get busy with fireworks, the big and the bang and the commercial, it’s nice to get together to do something of a tradition.”
A pot luck picnic at the Herkimer Home State Historic Site was scheduled to follow the service.
Fort Herkimer Church — officially known as the Dutch Reformed Church of German Flatts — was built by Johann Jost Herkimer, the father of Revolutionary War hero Nicholas Herkimer, in 1754 in the town of German Flatts. The church is the oldest in Herkimer County and the among the oldest churches in New York State.