Line of March, Bedford Minutemen lead the Pole Capping parade - Image (c) Michael Nosal, 2015

Line of March, Bedford Minutemen lead the Pole Capping parade – Image (c) Michael Nosal, 2015

By Julie McCay Turner

Bedford Minuteman Brian Nash reaches the top of the Liberty Pole - Image (c) Mark Hamilton, 2015

Bedford Minuteman Bryan Nash reaches the top of the Liberty Pole – Image (c) Marc Hamilton, 2015

The Bedford Minuteman Company celebrated their annual Liberty Pole Capping ceremony at Willson Park on April 11, the first lovely Saturday of 2015.

The Day’s Program

The morning’s invocation was offered by Dan Schoeni, representative from the Billerica Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the Bedford interfaith association and a Major in the United States Air Force.  The Minuteman Company’s Citizenship award was presented to Bedford High School senior Naomi Robinson, for her anti-tobacco initiative.

Speakers included (Click on each name to read their remarks and see their photogrpah)

Watching the proceedings - Image (c) Robert Bass, 2015

Watching the proceedings – Image (c) Robert Bass, 2015

British troops couldn't spoil the fun - Image (c) Mark Hamilton, 2014

British troops couldn’t spoil the fun – Image (c) Marc Hamilton, 2014

Other dignitaries present included Colonel Michael Vogel (66th Air Base Group Commander) and his wife Misty; Superintendent Nancy Nelson, Minuteman National Historic Park; Rev. John Gibbons, Chaplain of the Bedford Minuteman Company; former State Senator and Honorary Minuteman Carol Amick; Town Moderator Betsey Anderson; Bedford Selectmen William Moonan and Caroline Fedele; School Committee members Michael McAllister and Daniel Brosgol; Planning Board Chair Amy Lloyd, with Shawn Hanegan; Citizen of the Year Alma Pomponi; Town Manager Richard Reed, Town Clerk Doreen Tremblay, Public Works Director Roy Sorenson; and Bedford Chamber of Commerce President Adam Schwartz.

Bedford Minutemen prepare to raise the Liberty Pole as Brian Nash watches - Image (c) Michael Nosal, 2015

Bedford Minutemen prepare to raise the Liberty Pole as Bryan Nash prepares for his climb – Image (c) Michael Nosal, 2015

About Bedford’s Pole Capping

The Bedford Minutemen lead the assembled troops from Bedford Common to begin the parade - Image (c) Michael Nosal, 2015

The Bedford Minutemen lead the assembled troops from Bedford Common to begin the parade – Image (c) Marc Hamilton, 2015

Captain Jonathan Willson (correctly spelled with a double L, and for whom Willson Park is named) led the Bedford Minutemen into battle at the Concord Bridge 311 years ago, carrying the Bedford Flag. Captain Willson was one of four Colonials killed at the Bloody Angle during the British retreat from Concord, and a lament was offered for him and others lost in battle at the end of the Pole Capping ceremony.  The original Bedford Flag is preserved in a special vault at the Bedford Free Public Library.

Bedford’s Liberty Pole is raised in commemoration of the Sons of Liberty who adorned “Liberty Trees” with symbols of freedom from oppression and bondage at the time of the American Revolution. The ceremony opens the season of Patriot’s Day activities in Middlesex County.

A collection of images by Michael Nosal

A collection of images by Michael Nosal

Captain Roy Kring and the Bedford Minuteman Company invited Minuteman and Militia companies including the Lexington Minutemen, Concord Minutemen, Acton Minutemen, Bagley’s 3rd Massachusetts Provincial Regiment, Billerica Colonial Minute Men, Boxborough Minutemen Company, Burlington Second Parish Minutemen, Lincoln Minutemen, Menotomy Minute Men, Middlesex County 4-H Fife and Drum Corps, Middlesex County Volunteers, Stow Minutemen, Sudbury Ancient Fyfe and Drum Companie, Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute, Watertown Provincial Guard, Westford Colonial Minutemen, William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps, Wilmington Minutemen, and His Majesty’s Fifth Regiment of Foot in America. Click  Faces in the Parade  to see some of the participants, along with a link to Michael Nosal’s parade photographs.

The minutemen and militia companies mustered on Bedford Common and marched past the Fitch Tavern where the Bedford unit and dignitaries waited with the Liberty Pole. Aided by a pair of Acton ‘regulars,’ two Bedford Minutemen carried the pole to Willson Park where the pole was raised, climbed and topped with a bright red stocking cap emblazoned with the word LIBERTY.

As quickly as the pole was climbed and the cap installed at its top, British Regulars descended and hauled the climber, Minuteman Bryan Nash, off into custody whereupon their leader addressed the assemblage through taunts and heckling by the Colonials.

Looking back - Image (c) Ed Johnson, 2015

Looking back – Image (c) Ed Johnson, 2015

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