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Independence Day

With this year’s Fourth of July festivities restored, Harvard has something more to celebrate than even the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. By necessity, last year’s weekend-long festivities—a tradition that began in 1967—were canceled, including the pre-Fourth fireworks and concert on the grounds of Fruitlands Museum, and the parade, the flag-raising, and field events in the town center. At the time, the town was operating under a state of emergency, and state restrictions prohibited large gatherings.

This year, state restrictions are eased. With a townwide vaccination rate of roughly 69%, Harvard residents are beginning to feel more comfortable gathering at the town beach, the public library, Hildreth House, and sporting events. These encouraging signs of progress are reason enough for gratitude. But perhaps the happy return of the town’s Fourth of July traditions can inspire a renewed appreciation for all those who make it happen, on a self-
sustaining budget, year after year. To the people who started the Fourth of July Committee, Gene and Arline Marteney, Jane Petrie, and Dorothy Wells, to today’s committee, and to all those in between, we owe our thanks. Their efforts, combined with the enthusiastic participation of Harvard residents, make Harvard’s Independence Day celebration
an iconic small-town event.

At noon on Sunday, the flag-raising ceremony will take place on the field in front of the Harvard Public Library. In recognition of the nation’s birth, and of our town’s resilience over the past year, let’s each of us be there to appreciate the holiday and its trappings, whether in spirit or in person.

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