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The Press asks: ‘What does the Fourth of July in Harvard mean to you?’

The Press sent reporters Grace Fiori, Marty Green, and Rebecca Zhang to Harvard’s Independence Day parade and to the festivities held on the library field. Here is how attendees at the parade and field events—both of which took place on a hot and sunny Saturday, July 2—answered a question about what the town’s celebration meant to them.

We missed it [during the pandemic], that’s for sure. It’s such a great [Fourth]. It has the old-timey kind of feel.”

— Greg Clark, Littleton, 13th generation of the Clark family in Massachusetts, attending the event for at least the 10th time

It means tradition. … When the kids were young, there were all the activities for the kids. Went through that, and then they left, and we still like to come back to see people before they leave for the summer. And so, it’s tradition now—it’s patriotic. We have pictures that go way back to the ’80s with the kids all dressed up … so it’s nice to see that continue. It’s simple. There’s no extra stuff. It’s just simple, traditional stuff that we can depend on. It’s nice to see that continue.”

—Pete Jackson, Harvard

I just like the tradition. My favorite tradition is the parade; we don’t stay around for the field activities that much anymore, but it’s fun for the younger people.”

—Kathy Jackson, Harvard

Kathy and Pete Jackson have lived in Harvard for 44 years and were named Harvard’s 2018 Citizens of Note

We always come out for the Fourth. Good event for kids and to see the community. It was a little smaller turnout [this year], but it ebbs and flows over the years.”
Chriss Moeser, Harvard, resident for more than 40 years

Community. And it means celebration. Bringing the community together. We actually like the parade a lot because my kids enjoy it, so we’ve been doing it for about however long we lived here. All [my son’s] life, I would say. He was born here, 2014, that’s when we moved from Ayer. So, it’s been a tradition for us.”

—Naveena Ajjugottu, Harvard

The sense of community is definitely the most important thing. When you see the people, the police, the fire department, businesses all together, it shows the strength of the community.”

—Lin Jiang and Donglu Xia, 11-year residents of Harvard

It’s great. It’s important that people care enough to get together. It’s important for the fabric of our lives. … And it’s important for kids to have these memories.”

— Linda Gilberti, Stow, formerly of Harvard

I think it’s one of the highlights of the town. It’s a chance for everybody to get together, like the fact that it’s right here in the community. I think it draws everyone together. We chose Harvard because of community events like this. One [of my children] was in the parade, Girl Scouts, and the other was catching all the candy. They’re twins who are 9. So my son Quinn talked Evie into dropping a bunch of candy just for him.”

—Erika Powell-Burson, Harvard, attired in red, white, and blue and a resident since 2017

We did the parade, and my daughter was in the bike decorating contest. And we’re hoping to see what field events we have. … It’s very community-oriented. We get to see a lot of the neighbors. I love the small-town feel of Harvard.”

—Jen Russo, Harvard, who moved to Harvard last year and was attending her second Fourth of July parade in town

I think it really means tradition because this happens every single year. I think it’s really cool how … everyone comes out here and just celebrates the Fourth of July. It’s really cool seeing, like, a lot of faces because it’s a really small town so we know a lot of people. It’s just really cool connecting and seeing everyone.”

—Joana Juliano, Harvard, student at the Bromfield School

I think it means, like, community, where we all come together and celebrate.”

—Hanna Wicks, Harvard, student at the Bromfield School

It brings back childhood memories from Lexington, the birthplace of our freedom. It teaches the children patriotism.”

—Mark Brown, Harvard, who grew up in Lexington, accompanied by his grandchildren

This was one of the most welcoming and family fun events. So, even though we don’t live in Harvard, we’ve attended every year for the past eight years. …It’s a patriotic feeling, representing our freedoms, our founding freedoms, and the birth of America for all citizens. This is a great event, family-friendly. The people of Harvard have always been so welcoming, and it’s one of the reasons why we’ve stayed in Massachusetts.”

—Andrea Greene, Leominster

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