It may have been an elaborately staged April Fools Day event, but the new government of Boon Island is serious about raising money to save the tallest lighthouse in Maine.
As the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company’s Thomas Laighton steamed out of New Hampshire’s Portsmouth harbor it hoisted the new flag of the Republic of Boon Island, which was soon noticed by the port’s security, who immediately had harbor police and Coast Guard boats escort the vessel with its band of rebellious colonists out of U. S. waters.
Almost as soon as the Thomas Laighton was underway, people lined up to buy their new citizenship papers for the Republic of Boon Island and obtain their passports, library cards and exchange their U.S. Dollars for “Blue Boonies,” the official money for the soon to be declared new republic.
Once the boat departed the waters of the United States of America on its nine-mile trip to the remote Boon Island, the new government rulers appeared in full dress regalia to swear in the new citizens.
Under the watchful eye of numerous TV cameras, and photographers from five different newspapers, the Regent Lord Master of the new republic escorted by his Police Commissioner and Secretary General of Boon “Eye”land Security demanded that everyone raise their hands to repeat the oath of allegiance to the new island nation. In fear of walking the plank, none questioned the Regent’s orders and those of the other corruptible officials.
Tim Harrison, the self proclaimed Regent of the Republic of Boon Island (who is also president of the American Lighthouse Foundation and editor of this magazine) told the reporters that the new nation would be a highly publicized corrupt nation where bribes would be commonplace, saying, “Every political and government office for the new Republic is for sale—for the right price.” Harrison said, “We are a corrupt government, but we are corrupt for the benefit of the people and for the people.”
Once the vessel reached the remote island lighthouse, Harrison read the Declaration of Independence for the new Republic of Boon Island, declaring that “we the non inhabitants of the cities, communities and townships of Boon Island, of which there are none, are now an independent sovereign nation and will exist as a protectorate of the United States of America under United Nations charter.”
Naturally the entire event was done in jest, but for a good cause, to raise money for the restoration of the lighthouse. The large contingent of media in attendance pleased Harrison, who said, “Everyone needed this light-hearted event. It makes for something different in the news in these trouble times, plus it’s all being done for a good cause - to save the lighthouse.” And those on board couldn’t have agreed more. Ronald Packard, one of the four former lighthouse keepers of Boon Island who was on board for the event and had not been back to the lighthouse since he left 60 years ago said he was shocked to see the condition that it was now in. He hoped this good-natured event would bring in enough money to help save the lighthouse at which he once served so proudly.
Citizenship is available to anyone who is willing to pay the $25.00 fee plus shipping charges. For that you get a beautiful certificate, suitable for hanging, a library card, a CD-Rom with a history of the lighthouse and a list of political offices and novelty awards for sale, a copy of the Declaration of Independence and other goodies. Also available for sale is the bright yellow flag of the new republic for $25.00 and an official Republic of Boon Island coffee mug for $5.00. Naturally shipping is additional.
Harrison said, he believes the most popular items will be the novelty certificates that will be for sale, such as “Wife of the Year” - “Boyfriend of the Year” - “Worst Girlfriend” and many others. He continued, “Where else can you get an award on a beautiful certificate ready for framing from an independent country, or the political office of your choice. If we don’t have one for sale, we’ll let you make up the position.”
To learn more about the Republic of Boon Island visit their web site at www.LighthouseFoundation.org or call them at 207-646-0245.
This story appeared in the
May 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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