http://shorenewstoday.com/nls/ Page 8.
Somers Point Honors Favorite Son
By Shaun Smith
SOMERS POINT - People from around southern New Jersey gathered at the Somers Mansion on the Somers Point Circle Thursday, Sept. 4 to celebrate Richard Somers Day. Richard Somers is best known for his heroic efforts fighting pirates in the early 1800s. His ship, the Intrepid, exploded Sept. 4, 1804 while fighting pirates in the Tripoli Harbor, killing Somers and his crew.
In 2004, the New Jersey Legislature passed a resolution declaring Sept. 4 Richard Somers Day and on Thursday many gathered to pay tribute on the 204th anniversary of his death. The even began with the colors presented by the Boy Scout Troop 39 fro Linwood and Scotut John Thomas of Egg Harbor Township leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Sally Hastings, president of the Somers Point Historical Society, who co-foundd the event with Liberty and Prosperity, said that it was important to remember throughout the ceremolny the 12 men who died along with Somers.
Mayor Jack Glasser spoke about his experiences being a veteran and the great sacrifice that Somers made to his country.
"Richard Somers was a hero," Glasser said. "He took the challenge to defend our country in a time of need, and for that I feel there is no greater sacrifice than what he's done."
Walt Gregory read the resolution passed by the state Legislature and spoke of the Somers Point native's great contribution to history.
Seith Grossman, founder of Liberty and Prosperity, described the symbols of liberty that were on display by the Boy Scouts. The Phrygian cap on the liberty pole symbolizes freedom and is featured on teh New Jersey state flag, he said.
The pole symbolizes the pike, a crude weapon used by villagers, and although it is a weak weapon, if an entire viallge wielded them, they would be successful in defending their liberty.
While Congressman Frank LoBiondo said the story of Somers reminds us that America is the geatest nation on earth, local historian William Kelly brought the context into a wider perspective.
Kelly told the crowd that, as they stood on a hill in front of a mansion dating back to 1720 celebrating a fallen soldeir who died in Tripoli 204 years before, Secretary of State Coldoleeza Rice was the frist in her position to visit Libya since 1953. He said that while the goal of the ceremony is to educate children and adults about hte history of Somers, Rice was unaware of the significance of Sept. 4.
"I propose that we dedicate the next nine days, from today, Richard Somers Day, until September 13, John Barry Day, in efforts to educate people," Kelly said. "Not just fifth-graders, but our leaders in Washington and our representatives in Tripoli, of the biography of these men, the story of the Intrepid, the exact location of their graves and to continue the effors to bring them home."
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Bill Kelly can be reached at Billkelly3@gmail.com