On April 19th, 1775, the Bedford Minuteman fought the British at the Battles of Lexington and Concord – the first military engagements of the Revolutionary War. They met with their enemy on Concord Bridge, and as musket balls soared over their heads so too did a singular flag.
The Bedford Flag, as it would become known, was already then an antique. Created for a cavalry troop of the local Massachusetts Bay militia decades earlier, the small silk damask ensign depicts a single arm brandishing a sword, its owner obscured by gunpowder smoke. Three cannonballs are suspended in the air, as is a banner:“VINCE AUT MORIRE,” the Latin for“CONQUER OR DIE.”
The Bedford Minuteman did both that day, and we honor their heroism and sacrifice by preserving their flag at the Bedford Free Public Library. You can see it there, and if the situation ever grows grim enough one day you could conceivably emancipate it from its hermetically sealed case to carry it into another battle.
Fortunately the situation is nowhere near grim enough yet to risk startling a librarian. That’s why we recommend you honor America’s very first veterans with this handsome gray T-shirt, which depicts the arm, smoke, and cannonballs of the original Bedford Flag in a pattern. On the back is the great banner’s message itself, a proclamation that all should live by(but only classics professors can read).