By Julie McCay Turner
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)
- Invocation offered by Dan Schoeni
- Citizenship Award Winner Naomi Robinson
- State Senator Mike Barrett
- State Representative Ken Gordon
- Selectman Mark Siegenthaler
- Town Historian Sharon McDonald
- Paul O’Shaunessy, the 5th Regiment of Foot
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.
About Bedford’s Pole Capping
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.
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.