Located on Town Center in Bedford, Mass., The Patriot statue isn’t old, but celebrates something that is SUPER OLD.
The Patriot is flying the Bedford flag, which is the oldest complete flag to exist in the United States. Physical evidence and its stylings date its origin in the early 1700s.
“It is celebrated as the flag carried by the Bedford Minuteman, Nathaniel Page, to the Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775, the beginning of the American Revolution, but it was already an antique on that day,” according to the Bedford, Mass., website. “It was made for a cavalry troop of the Massachusetts Bay militia early in the colonial struggle for the continent that we call ‘the French and Indian Wars.'”
After the battle on April 19, 1775, the flag was returned to the Page farm. It seemed the flag’s role was over. In the early 1800s, Nathaniel’s youngest daughter Ruhamah went so far as to rip the fringe from it. She later lamented to A. E. Brown, “I took that silver fringe from that old flag when I was a giddy girl, and trimmed a dress for a military ball. I was never more sorry for anything than that which resulted in the loss of the fringe.”
In 1885, a Page family member donated the flag to the Town of Bedford and since that time has been kept by the trustees of the Bedford Free Public Library. The original flag can still be viewed at the Bedford Library, where it is kept in a special room protecting it from heat, light and humidity.
The Latin words on the flag mean “Conquer or Die.” As parting gift, friends bought us a replica of the Bedford flag, and it is one of the first things we hung on the walls of our California house.
The Patriot was sculpted by Bruce Papitto in 2000.