Historical Opportunity to view a parade that has taken place the first Monday in June on Boston Common for the past 379 years since 1638.. Every July 4th since 1776 the Captain Commanding (http://www.ahac.us.com) of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts 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 (Marty Walsh) speaks to those assembled. A parade from City Hall Plaza to the Old State House 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 (3) 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 Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, performed this duty for the first time. The tradition has continued almost uninterruptedly by the Company's commander since that time. This year the annual reading will be performed by Captain Commanding Dennis O'Brien with a huge crowd gathered in the street below the Old State House east side balcony.
In 1990, US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Vincent J. Perrone Jr. was on the Joint Staff Operational Command Center for Desert Storm when he heard a news report that 450,000 homeless veterans were living on American streets — and that number could soar to 1.2 million on any given night. “Here I was, helping to send 565,000 troops to war in Iraq, and now I know some of them will come back and be homeless. I was very troubled by it,” said Perrone, now retired following a 20- year military career. “I made a promise to myself that if that happened, I was going to get involved.”