In 1965 the St. Helens Junior Chamber of Commerce coordinated with other clubs in the state to connect with the nationwide "Let Freedom Bells Ring on Independence Day" ceremony.
The event includes simultaneous ringing of bells throughout America on the 4th of July. The observance began at 11 a.m. and had local churches and fire stations ringing bells for two minutes.
Reviving the significance of July 4th Independence Day was the motivating factor that captured the spirit of volunteers who organized and synchronized to “Let Freedom Bells Ring," according to local coordinator Judy Thompson.
"The event brought re-awakening to the public consciousness of the significance of July 4th," Thompson said.
St. Helens will celebrate July 4th Independence Day with the 7th Annual “Let Freedom Bells Ring” will be conducted from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Columbia County Courthouse Plaza in the city's Old Town District.
A flag raising ceremony and playing of the National Anthem is set for 1:30 p.m. conducted by American Legion Post 42, followed with speakers. At 2 p.m. the countdown for the bell ringing begins to signify the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with the ringing of bells, once for each the 13 founding colonies.
“Let Freedom Bells Ring” honors the veterans, service members, law enforcement, and firefighters who protect our freedom, Thompson said.
Big Bell locations are at the Columbia County Courthouse’s clock tower bell, the Courthouse Fog Bell, Warrior Rock Replica Bell, Columbia River Fire & Rescue, St. Frederic Catholic Church, First United Methodist Church, Christ Episcopal Church, Plymouth Presbyterian Church, John Gumm Olde School, and St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church.
Thompson encourage those attending the local bell ringing to bring a bell to ring.
The Courthouse Plaza will fill with the sounds of the Larry Jackson Big River Big Band from 2 to 3 p.m. Highway 30 Cruisers Car Club is scheduled to surround the plaza with classic cars.
The Columbia Theatre will be open for drive up popcorn sales. American Heritage Girls will be handing out bells and individually wrapped cookies to celebrate America’s 245th Birthday.
"Courthouse Plaza offers shade, green grass, so bring your chair, plenty of room to spread out and enjoy sights and sounds," Thompson said.
According to Thompson, “Let Freedom Bells Ring!” is made possible by American Legion Post 42, VFW Post 1440, Post 4362, Scout Troop 106, Columbia County Museum Association, American Heritage Girls, Hometown Heroes, Elks Veteran Bunker, St. Helens Main Street Alliance, Keep it Local, and many community volunteers.
COVID-19 guidelines will be followed during the events.
For information contact Judy Thompson at 503-397-6056