Bedford Flag AOP Mug
Bedford Flag AOP Mug

Bedford Flag AOP Mug

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“CONQUER OR DIE.” If you studied Latin instead of a language that is spoken by actual people during high school, you would be able to read the Bedford Flag’s famous message. Little is known of the origin of America’s oldest flag, but if Minuteman Nathaniel Page is to be believed the Bedford was flown at the Battle of Concord.

The Battle of Concord immediately followed the British victory at the Battle of Lexington, the fight which kicked off the Revolutionary War. As the redcoats marched toward Concord to commandeer its military equipment, the American militiamen stood by in wait in case the brutes decided to raze it. The Brits were feeling hot after routing the rebels a few miles east, and they shot two of the Bedford militiamen.

Bad idea. The Americans peppered their enemies with volley after volley of musket balls, and soon drove them so far back they couldn’t even recover their dead and wounded. And as the plumes of black powder smoke rose over the battleground, the wine-dark Bedford fluttered defiantly.

Following the battle, Nathaniel Page returned the Bedford Flag, his family heirloom, to its home on the mantelpiece. It remained in obscurity until Page’s grandson sent it to the centennial celebration of the battles in Concord. Today the flag is on display at the Bedford Free Public Library, dulled and frayed by age but no less striking. There is the original symbol of American freedom.