Tuesday, May 22, 2007

America's Veterans and Troops Honored During Bensonhurst 'Liberty Weekend'

Eds: Photos from previous Liberty Weekend events are available. Please contact Robert Buonvino at 1-718-234-9268 for details.


America's Veterans and Troops Honored During Bensonhurst 'Liberty Weekend'

BROOKLYN - America's veterans and troops, past and present, will be honored during Liberty Weekend Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and June 3, on the historic grounds of the New Utrecht Reformed Church in Bensonhurst.

Each year hundreds come to see a Civil War encampment on the church lawn, historical displays in the Parish House, tour the old New Utrecht Cemetery, hear an outdoor band concert, attend a Sunday morning worship service and see a parade.

The church is at 18th Ave. and 84th St. ("Liberty Pole Blvd."), near subway and bus lines. All events are free.

Re-enactors in full, authentic uniforms welcoming visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday will be from the famous 14th Brooklyn Regiment, Co. H, along with Revolutionary War soldiers and Winslow Battery 'D'. A highlight will be Civil War-era cannon.

Friends of Historic New Utrecht has arranged for "Liberty Weekend" displays to be on view all day in the Parish House, where community events are centered while the nearby church building undergoes a $2 million restoration and repair. The Parish House itself has a long history, pre-dating the 1828 main church building.

At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, a cemetery tour will begin at 16th Ave. and 85th St. That's where the original New Utrecht Reformed Church was built. The church, within the Reformed Church in America (RCA), a mainline denomination, was founded in 1677. For persons interested in New York City history, the tour of the old Dutch cemetery with its weathered tombstones provides a unique examination of life in the early days of Brooklyn, before the borough was given the name it has today. The cemetery goes back to 1654.

Saturday night, the InterSchool Orchestra (ISO) Concert Band, conducted by Brian P. Worsdale, performs on the church lawn at 7:30 p.m. In case of rain, the free concert will be in the Parish House.

The "living history" encampment remains in place Sunday at 10 a.m. while another tour of the cemetery will be given at that time.

At 11 a.m., the Rev. Terry Troia, pastor of New Utrecht, conducts a worship service honoring the nation's veterans and troops, past and present. At 12:45 p.m. there will be a parade from the church to the cemetery to salute all American war veterans at the memorial to Revolutionary War Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull, who died of wounds nearby and is buried on Long Island.

At 1:45 p.m., the Liberty Weekend events conclude at a celebration of the 224th anniversary of the New Utrecht "Liberty Pole" on the church front lawn. The New Utrecht Liberty Pole Association, whose president is church and community leader Rose Lood, was incorporated in 1908 to care for and preserve the pole "to foster, encourage and inspire patriotism, and to love, protect and honor the freedom and flag of our Republic for which our forefathers fought and gave up their lifeblood." Over 100 feet high, this is only the sixth Liberty Pole erected on the site since the first in 1783 by the Village of New Utrecht in celebration of the departure of the British.

Liberty Weekend is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation.

More information about the observances is available from the Friends of Historic New Utrecht at 1-718-256-7173 and at www.historicnewutrecht.org or by sending inquiries to mail@historicnewutrecht.org.

bhpr especially for churches services donated. May-June '07


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