Celebrate Somerville’s History at Grand Union Flag Raising

It was New Year’s Day a few years ago when I heard the drum beats approaching. It’s not unusual to hear and see Colonial period music and dress in the Boston area so I didn’t think too much of the processional approaching Prospect Hill. But I was intrigued about what was happening in my usually quiet neighborhood, so I put on some shoes and followed the parade.

What I found was a a re-enactment of the Grand Union Flag Raising–a delightful historic program celebrating Somerville’s role in the Revolutionary War. People of all generations milled about sipping hot beverages and nibbling doughnuts as the event got underway.

We purchased this map of historic Somerville at the flag raising.

We were treated to singing, speeches and a gun salute before making our way up in the tower to see the surrounding area from above. With tiny flags waving and tri-corner hats atop their heads, Somervillians proudly commemorated our city’s special place in history.

The program honors George Washington’s command to raise the Grand Union Flag–the first true American flag–on Prospect Hill on January 1, 1776. And tomorrow, we get to honor that historic event with a festive celebration that is one of my favorite ways to ring in the new year!


Grand Union Flag Raising
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Parade leaves City Hall at 11:30 a.m. (all are invited to walk in Colonial dress)
Flag raising on Prospect Hill at noon

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