Existential Crisis ~ We Have the Second Oldest Flag?


There are some things you take for granted: the sun rises in the east, it will always rain after you wash your car, and Bedford has the oldest flag in the country.

Well, there is a rumor that there may be an older flag in Rhode Island.  The Byfield Flag has been discovered in Bristol,  RI.  Apparently it was found with a collection of military stuff at some old building. The flag may be the oldest American Colonial flag in existence, still to be confirmed by a lab.  If confirmed, the Byfield Flag dates to around 1687. Allegedly it was used as the banner for a militia colonel’s company.   The Byfield flag dates to before 1700; that would make it the oldest American colonial flag, older than our Bedford Flag, which was made sometime in the 1720s or 1730s. 


Assuming it is confirmed to be older, what does it mean for the Bedford Flag and for Bedford’s identity in general?   Bedford, MA, home of the second oldest flag in the country?  It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  I can’t help but think of the old Avis Rental Car ads. “We’re number 2 – we try harder.”    For the sake of this article, I did a google search looking for the current number 2 (soon to be 3) in order to feel superior.  There is no, none, zip,  zero, mention of the current #2, no one cares!  Is that our destiny?   

Looking at pictures of the Byfield Flag, I for one, am not impressed!  Where the Bedford Flag is red and has a really cool sword and an arm, and a slogan that can be misappropriated for one’s own needs, the Byfield Flag looks like an old yellow rag someone stuck on a stick.  That’s all you got?  You can already hear the spin coming out of Rhode Island, to paraphrase what the conservators are saying, “well we know it’s just a yellow rag, but before all the red fell off it might have been really cool, we think.”  

Let’s see you make a Welcome to Bristol sign out of that!   

Editor’s Note: The Scallion is a lighthearted attempt to poke gentle fun at ourselves.  It’s satire and not to be taken too seriously.

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Carol hand
April 22, 2022 7:27 am

Say it isn’t so! You mean the dowager of Bedford actually carried the second oldest flag in the Lexington parade on Patriot’s Day? Quelle horror!

April 19, 2022 9:37 pm