Hope was in the air, but so was despair, as some three dozen people gathered on the Town Common for an hour Thursday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Bundled against the cold and masked against the coronavirus, the group convened as the last hint of light departed the western sky.
Organizers Mark Bailey and the Rev. Annie Gonzalez asked participants to share reflections as they encircled a small fire outside the First Parish Church.
The expressions ranged from predictions of further polarization and even violence to optimism that government is resilient enough to survive and flourish. A few shared stories of their whereabouts a year earlier.
One speaker mused about the Bedford residents who walked that same ground to celebrate the birth of a new nation almost 250 years ago.
Bailey read two poems by Amanda Gorman, the recent Harvard graduate and 2020 inaugural poet, sandwiched around the testimonies.
The group spent the last 20 minutes or so lined alongside The Great Road between South Road and Elm Street, holding lanterns or candles encased in glass cylinders. It was a silent vigil, without signs, and in the darkness, the presence of the group engendered only a couple of honks from the heavy traffic moving by.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763