Defense attorneys from every corner of Texas gathered together Wednesday to celebrate — and demonstrate — the significance of Independence Day.

For many years, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association has organized local public readings of the Declaration of Independence just before July 4 across the Lonestar State. That ceremony was practiced Wednesday in Walker County as over a dozen attorneys took turns to read the Declaration in front of the Walker County Courthouse.

“There are certain things that we as Americans take for granted and if you don’t take time to recognize how we got here you can lose sight of things,” organizer and local defense attorney J. Paxton Adams said. “The Declaration is really important on what it is to be an American citizen.”

Attendees included dozens of local attorneys, as well as current and former judges. The event was organized by Adams alongside Yvonne Hill, who works as state counsel for offenders.

“We are proud to emphasize the patriotism associated with Independence Day,” said TCDLA President Kerri Anderson-Donica. “TCDLA recognizes the Declaration of Independence as the bedrock document that not only liberated the colonies but eventually led to the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the American rule of law—concepts criminal defense lawyers use every day to protect individual liberties in courthouses across the land.”

The Declaration of Independence is our nation’s most revered symbol of a nation’s stand against the illegal and immoral depredations of the crown against our citizens.

“When you read those words … it’s like poetry,” Adams added.