Letter to the Editor: Comments on Seeing Bedford Flags in the Crowd at the US Capitol

January 11, 2021

Submitted by Charles Connell

Like many Americans, I watched last Wednesday as a mob ransacked my country’s Capitol building. They were there for the purpose of overturning the results of a legitimate election through violence, in other words, attempting a coup d’état against the United States. They were motivated in their sedition by the white supremacist belief that only their votes mattered. Their rage and desire to destroy their own country rather than concede that it also belongs to non-White people shows the power of racism. In the days since the event, thousands of images have filtered around social media, but a few concern Bedford in particular. As you can see, the Bedford flag was flying at the insurrection.

It was shocking to see that someone, probably a Bedford resident, would reappropriate this old flag for an act of sedition against the country that it belongs to. At the same time, perhaps it is not surprising. The flag was designed as a battle flag for the Revolutionary War and was carried in battle against the government at the time. The text on it, meaning “conquer or die,” makes it clear that the flag represents violence. I can understand why a seditionist would carry it.

Wednesday was a shameful day to be an American. Having grown up in Bedford, and seeing our history used to further the cause of white supremacy, made it even more shameful. The events show that white supremacy is alive and well not just on the National Mall, but in our town too.

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Editor’s Note: Charles Connell was a member of the Class of 2009 at Bedford High School.

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Alan MacRobert
January 15, 2021 8:58 am

Here in Bedford we usually think of the Bedford Flag as a local thing, but it’s known to flag buffs everywhere who have an interest in early American flag history. Some people have jumped to the conclusion that the Bedford Flag at the riot must have been brought by some (reprehensible) person from Bedford. There’s no reason to assume that.

Karen Wulfsberg
January 11, 2021 11:04 pm

I did not see any images of the Bedford flag at the shameful attack on the Capitol last week, but I was deeply saddened to hear of it. However, I would like to correct some of the information given in this letter. The Bedford flag was NOT created for the Revolutionary War; to the best of our knowledge, it was made in the early part of the 18th century. While it has been widely believed that the flag was carried at the battle of Concord, there is no actual proof of this. For more information, use this link: https://www.bedfordlibrary.net/about/bedford-flag

None of this, of course, mitigates what I consider to be the desecration of our flag, the oldest in the country. But please, let’s stay with the facts.

Charles
January 12, 2021 9:32 pm

Thank you for that correction, Karen

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