Every July 4th the Captain Commanding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts (i.e. A&HAC) reads the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House in Boston, as part of Independence Day ceremonies
The event is preceded by activities at City Hall Plaza usually starting at 9:00 a.m. at which time the Mayor of Boston speaks to those assembled. A parade from City Hall Plaza to the Old StateHouse follows.
The parade stops at the Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street to allow officers and officials to lay wreaths at the graves of the patriots. Interred on the site are three signers of the Declaration of Independence--John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Robert Treat Paine. Paul Revere, Peter Faneuil, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Boston Massacre victim's graves are also here.
The reading of the Declaration of Independence dates back to July 18, 1776, when Colonel Thomas Crafts, a member of the A&HAC, performed this duty for the first time.
The tradition has continued almost uninterruptedly by the Company's commander since that time.