Franklin feted for 306th birthday

    Carrying a banner through the streets of Philadelphia, a procession of admirers and dignitaries visited Christ Church Cemetery Friday to place a wreath on the grave of Benjamin Franklin.

    The ceremony was a celebration of the founding father’s 306th birthday.

    “He was the first great Philadelphian who really provided so many of the firsts that happened in this country. And it happened right here, where I’m standing, this very spot,” said Donalld Smith as he waited outside the American Philosophical Society for the procession to begin.

    Smith, who runs the Christ Church Preservation Trust, led the group, which included U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, to the cemetery.

    In character, Benjamin Franklin portrayer Ralph Archbold thanked the cemetery for its hospitality over more than two centuries Franklin has been in residence there. He led the crowd in a cheer.

    “I’d like everyone to join me in three hearty hurrahs,” he said. “Thank you all for coming.”

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