OSHKOSH - Before the parade in Oshkosh, people gathered to celebrate a 237-year-old tradition on the steps of the Winnebago County Courthouse.
Shoulder to shoulder they stood, listening to words that have echoed through the ages.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
That is probably the most recognizable phrase from the Declaration of Independence, but this crowd in Oshkosh had other favorites too.
"When in the course of human events it becomes time for one nation to dissolve the political bands that have held them," said Brian Golesh.
"These 'usurpations' and the need to 'cast off such governments and form a new government for our safety and welfare," said Steven Frey.
Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz read the entire document to start Independence Day in Oshkosh. He told us it was a historical act.
"When it was signed, one of the ways to get the word out to the colonies and the people in the colonies was to have the sheriff read the Declaration of Independence on the courthouse steps," said Matz.
Which the crowd that gathered appreciated.
"It's terrific. I think a lot of people in this country have never read it and certainly have never had it read to them," said Golesh.
Matz told us it's an honor to read, because those who drafted and signed the document made huge sacrifices.
"Those that signed it or had anything to do with it signed their own death warrant.," said Matz.
And that death warrant, so to speak, brought about the birth of our nation. Where these citizens said we enjoy freedoms we never could if it weren't for the Declaration of Independence and the men who signed it.
"It's cool. Because it's what our forefathers wrote for us to be free," said Joel Rolston.
This is the fourth year the Winnebago County sheriff has read the Declaration of Independence on this holiday.
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