Wilson Park is the traffic island where Great Road, Concord Road and North Road come together. Historically, on this site Bedford Minutemen and Militia met at dawn on April 19, 1775 to march off to Concord. Now, it holds the memorial to their Captain, Jonathan Wilson, who was killed on that day. And it also holds a stark, bare Liberty Pole.
Two Saturdays before Patriot’s Day, Wilson Park becomes a symbol of the great protests that reverberated through the colonies in the years before the American Revolution. A stamp tax, a tax on tea – any taxation without representation – and patriots would protest below their liberty trees and, when the British Regulars cut those down, the patriots erected liberty poles. At that time, a red cap was widely recognized to be a liberty cap, and to flaunt one atop a 20 or 30 foot pole was a deliberate slap in the face to King George and the English Parliament.