238th Flag Raising commemorated atop Prospect Hill by City officials, residents, and “George Washington” on horseback.

SOMERVILLE – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Historic Preservation Commission Director Brandon Wilson announced that the 238th annual “Grand Union” flag-raising ceremony at Prospect Hill Park will be held on
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2013, at 12 p.m. A processional led by a re-enactor portraying General George Washington on horseback will leave from the City Hall Concourse, at 93 Highland Ave., at 11:30 a.m. As always, members of the public are invited to participate, and are encouraged to wear traditional colonial clothing.

The annual ceremony commemorates the raising of the nation’s first official flag, featuring 13 red and white horizontal stripes, atop Prospect Hill on New Year’s Day, 1776. At the time, Prospect Hill was a key site in a string of fortifications created by Washington and the Continental Army in their siege of British troops in Boston during the first year of the American Revolution. This year, new historical research will be presented by Byron DeLear of the North American Vexillological Association including an important discovery: the first documentary evidence of the name of our nation—“United States of America”—was written in George Washington’s headquarters in Cambridge following the Prospect Hill ceremony raising the “first flag of America.”

The afternoon’s program will include songs, readings, and participants from the Ancient and Honorable Company (first chartered in 1638), as well as the Charlestown militia. This year’s celebrations will once again include His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Foot, which will be representing the British Army and will deliver a message from King George III. The American Legion Post 19 Honor Guard will lead a military salute as a commemorative flag is raised atop the Prospect Hill Tower.

Light refreshments will be served, and miniature replicas of the Grand Union Flag, both as a flag and a lapel pin, as well as colonial-era tri corner hats and historic Somerville books commemorating the event will be available for purchase.

The Prospect Hill Monument is located at the intersection of Munroe and Greenville Streets just north of Union Square.

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