It was a spectacular turnout for the annual 4th of July Cannon Ceremony at the former Belleville Dutch Reformed Church last Saturday to honor the 67 Revolutionary War soldiers buried there.
This year was a landmark occasion for Nutley, as the Belleville Historical Society recently discovered that an 18 year-old patriot from Nutley – Private Hermanus Brown – was buried in the church cemetery. He was cut down by cannon fire fighting the British Army in what would be Union township on June 8, 1780.
This event makes Private Manus Brown the first known Nutley veteran to die in defense of his newly-founded country.
In total, 67 Revolutionary War soldiers were laid to rest in this cemetery behind the church, which itself had an important role in the war as a strategically valuable and defensible outpost, an observation tower, and a safe haven for patriot militia.
This morning’s ceremony had representation from multiple townships, including Mayor Petracco and Dr. Scarpelli of Nutley. We are very grateful that they could join us for this historic occasion.
Afterward, there was a short ceremony in front of the Revolutionary War monument in front of Nutley High School, in which Mayor Petracco was presented with a ceremonial folded flag in recognition of the sacrifice of Private Hermanus Brown for his country.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help with both events, and to the Belleville Historical Society, which puts so much effort into honoring these fallen patriots each year. These brave men would likely otherwise be forgotten.
Looking back at photos from last year’s cannon ceremony, it appears that the turnout nearly tripled over last year. Next year, we’re all going to continue spreading the word, and growing this historic commemoration even further.
It was inspiring to see people from Belleville, Bloomfield, Nutley, North Arlington, and other Essex County towns coming together to celebrate their common heritage in the founding of this nation.
Hope you enjoy the media we captured from this wonderful event.
4th of July Cannon Ceremony, Belleville Dutch Reformed Church
Presentation of Folded Flag to Nutley Mayor Alphonse Petracco, Nutley High School Lawn
(sorry the audio isn’t great, we were right next to a very busy Franklin Ave on a Saturday morning)
Here is a gallery of photos I shot as I was hopping back and forth between my DSLR and my video camera.
This video was submitted to us by local historian and prolific author Anthony Buccino, showing the names of the Revolutionary War soldiers listed on the dedication monument in the cemetery (seen behind the speakers at the ceremony):
Update: Here is NorthJersey.com’s coverage of the event:
Belleville Historical Society pays tribute to interred soldiers
Descendant of Revolutionary War soldier visits Nutley, Belleville