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Parades Ceremonial Events


Independence Day:

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 victims 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.


Thanksgiving Day:

In November the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company participates in the Plymouth Thanksgiving Day Parade. EdgardsThanksgiving Day Parade. There will be numerous bands and historic / patriotic marching units. The festivities includes a parade, flyover, and food festival with the area's best chowders, soups and deserts. The parade begins on Main Street at 11 a.m.


Patriot's Day:

Patriot's Day is celebrated in Massachusetts to remember the events that took place in Boston leading to the American Revolution. Traditionally a morning flag-raising ceremony in Government Center is followed by speeches and a Patriots Day Parade. The parade stops at the Granary Burying Ground for a short service and wreath laying at the grave of Robert Keayne and Paul Revere.

At the end of the parade The Massachusetts Lancers stage the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes. From their start in the North End near the Old North Church, each ride through Boston making stops along the way to greet people until they reach the Minute Men Statue at Lexington Green. Revere (Lt. Richard Reale, Jr.) stops at Foss Park in Somerville, Hall House in Medford Square and Arlington Town Hall before arriving at Lexington Green.

Lexington Parade usually starts at 2:00 PM.

June Day:

On the first Monday in June an election of the Officers and Sergeants of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company takes place. A parade precedes the election and the Company marches from Government Center (adjacent to their Headquarters at Faneuil Hall) to the Granary Burial Ground on Tremont Street. At the cemetery they lay a wreath at the gravesite of Robert Keayne the First Captain Commanding of the Company.

The parade then proceeds to The Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont Street for a memorial service for recently deceased members.The parade then reconvenes and proceeds to Boston Common. At the Common the drumhead elections is reenacted for officers and 12 elected Sergeants. The ballots are distributed, collected and placed upon the drumhead, which is located in front of the Company.

Out-going officers tender their resignations to the Governor of the State of Massachusetts and newly elected Officers receive their commissions. The election is an reenactment of the first election and has continued without interruption since 1638. The parade then reconvenes and proceeds to a local downtown hotel.

St Patricks Day:

On occasion the AHAC participates in the St Patricks Day Parade. All of Boston turns out for the St. Patricks Day Parade. Its also officially Evacuation Day, which commemorates the expulsion of British troops from South Boston by General Washington in 1776 and which is observed as the de facto legal holiday. The city of Boston has been celebrating Evacuation Day on March 17 for more than 200 years. Public employees - including school teachers - in Suffolk and Middlesex counties have been given a paid day off to celebrate.

The day actually marks the anniversary of the re-occupation of Boston by American troops in 1776, according to noted Boston historian Thomas O'Connor. Several days earlier, General George Washington had stationed regiments with cannons on the top of Dorchester Heights, where the British could see them from their ships docked in the Harbor. No shots were fired, O'Connor said. But the British were scared enough to evacuate the city and sail off to Nova Scotia. About a week later, on March 17, 1776, Washington sent troops into Boston to make sure the British were gone and occupy the city.


Ceremonial Events

State of the State Address:

An Honor Guard composed of members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company is provided to the Commander-in-Chief: the Governor of Massachusetts. Each year the Governor calls upon the AHAC to serve in this important capacity. The honor guard lines the hallway between the Executive Office and the House Chambers.

Lone Walk Ceremony:

The night before the governor completes his/her term of office, the Ancients take part in the governor's "Lone Walk" ceremony. The Ancients form a guard of honor outside of the Executive Office and present arms as the governor leaves his office for the last time.As part of the governor's inaugural evening festivities, the governor in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Ancients, visits the Ancient's reception. A sword and an Ancients blazer is presented to the governor in recognition that he is now an ex officio member of the Ancients.The Ancients provide an honor guard to the governor as he leaves the Executive Office to deliver the State of the State address.

Presidents Day:

On Presidents Day the Ancients hold a formal luncheon that honors not only President George Washington, the first president that the Ancients escorted but also the four presidents who have been members: James Monroe, Chester A. Arthur, Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy. The luncheon also commemorates the Ancients taking part in the official opening of the Washington National Monument on 21 February 1885. The Ancients were one of the units on parade for President Arthur who had been an Ancient since 1882. The first luncheon was held in 1886 and has been held every year since then.

Salem Muster:

The AHAC participates in the parade and ceremony commerating the Anniversary of the country’s first muster in 1637 in Salem Massachusetts. Salem is the birthplace of National Guard. Many members of the Ancients have served or are currently serving in the Guard

Wreath Laying Mount Feake Cemetery:

Each year the First Lieutenant of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company is responsible for laying a wreath at the gravesite of Major George H. Maynard at Mount Feake Cemetery in Waltham Massachusetts (off Prospect Street/adjacent to Charles River). Major George Maynard was a member of our great company who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions during the Civil War. The public is invited to observe this ceremony. Often local political leaders and veterans groups attend. More information on Maynard.

June Day:

Although the anniversary of the Charter is March, the most significant ceremonial occurs in June. On the first Monday in June the Ancients hold a Drum Head Election on Boston Common. The tradition began with the First Muster in 1638. The sequence of events has changed over the years, but the theme of the day has always remained the same.

The day begins with an officers' call followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of Captain Robert Keayne. There is a luncheon at the Armory beginning at 11:00 AM for the Ancients and all Parade participants. At 12:30 PM the Parade forms on North and Congress Streets then marches to an historic church for a religious service and the Drum Head Election Day sermon. When the service concludes, the Parade reforms and marches to the Boston Common where the incumbent elected Officers appear before the Governor, our Commander-in-Chief, or his designated representative, to surrender their commissions. The newly elected Officers then appear before the Governor to receive their commissions for the coming year. Following this ceremony the Adjutant officiates at the exchange of authority of the twelve elected Sergeants of the Company. The Ceremony concludes with a pass in review by the Company and participants. The day ends with an anniversary banquet at a nearby hotel.

Fall Field Day Tour of Duty:

This is the second most important ceremonial duty of the Ancients. Its origin was the fall muster day required of all colonial militia. This was a training day. The Company conducted their training on Boston Common before and after the American Revolution. (Listing of all Fall Field Day Tours of Duty)

By 1834 the Company conducted training in nearby towns such as: Newton, South Boston or Cambridge, In 1847 they traveled to Concord, NH. In 1883 they traveled to New York City and in 1887 to Montreal, Canada. These were no longer one day training excursions, but became four or five day events. Usually the Company exchanged military courtesies with the local militia or military unit. They would recognize some outstanding symbol of military significance in the area, have a banquet and then return home.

In 1911 the Company left the continent to sail to Bermuda for their tour of duty. In 1896 the Company had travelled to England to visit the Honourable Artillery Company however this was not the Fall Field day Tour of Duty which was held at Baltimore in September of that year. It was in 1954 that the Company flew for the first time to London.

Independence Day

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Salem Muster

Wreath Laying Mt Feake

Patriots Day

State of the State

Centennial Legion

Thanksgiving Day Parade

June Day Parade & Drumhead Election

June Day


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