New Salem’s Veterans Park gets flag that flew over U.S. Capitol

Veterans Park in New Salem.

Veterans Park in New Salem. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

A flag that once flew of the U.S. Capitol flies over Veterans Park next to the 1794 Meeting House in New Salem.

A flag that once flew of the U.S. Capitol flies over Veterans Park next to the 1794 Meeting House in New Salem. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

TaMara Conde, Lori Lunn and Susan Reilly of the New Salem Veterans Memorial Committee in front of Veterans Park.

TaMara Conde, Lori Lunn and Susan Reilly of the New Salem Veterans Memorial Committee in front of Veterans Park. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-22-2024 11:17 AM

Modified: 02-22-2024 12:33 PM


NEW SALEM – It’s at least 400 miles from Washington, D.C., to South Main Street in this quiet town of about 1,000 residents.

But that’s the journey taken by the American flag that flies over Veterans Park, after having been flown over the U.S. Capitol.

Paul Beachell, a New Salem Veterans Memorial Committee member, went through U.S. Rep. Richard Neal’s website to request a flag and then paid $38 to receive it along with a certificate. He gave the flag to committee chairwoman TaMara Conde, who had it installed on the park’s new flagpole this month. Beachell, who four years ago retired from Westover Air Reserve Base as a chief master sergeant, said this particular Star-Spangled Banner spans 4 feet by 6 feet.

Conde said the new flag is part of a set of park improvements she hopes will include a new monument. There are three monuments at the park — one for local World War I service members, one of those who served in World War II, and one for William Stacy, who Conde said led New Salem militiamen to fight the British after hearing about the battles of Lexington and Concord and later co-founded Marietta, Ohio.

“We’re trying to honor all the veterans in our town,” Conde said. “That’s why we want to have this memorial.”

The committee was appointed last year and has been working to make improvements to the park nestled between the 1794 Meetinghouse and the Town Hall Annex. Its members are raising funds for the additional monument.

Committee members meet in the New Salem Public Library community room, usually on the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. Confirmation of meeting dates appear in the New Salem News the Saturday before the meeting. The committee will pursue grants for this project, but people are asked to consider a donation to honor New Salem’s veterans.

Donations can be sent to the Veteran’s Memorial Fund, 19 South Main Street, New Salem, MA. Checks should be made to the Town of New Salem.

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Americans can contact their U.S. representative or senator to request a flag flown over the Capitol. It is unclear why Beachell went through Neal’s office, as New Salem is represented by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern.

According to the Architect of the Capitol’s website, the Capitol Flag Program began in 1937 when a member of Congress requested a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol. Flags are flown daily year-round, weather permitting, excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. About 100,000 flag requests are fulfilled annually, with the number of requests and the Capitol Flag Program’s popularity growing steadily each year.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.