By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – A familiar site during the holiday season for multiple generations of Hudson residents and visitors returned downtown after an absence last year. In time for Thanksgiving and before the 14th annual Hudson Downtown Holiday Stroll, several VFW Post 1027 members hung its lighted American flag above the Gold Star Mothers Monument at Cox Square.
When volunteers attempted to hang the flag last year, its support system collapsed and broke. Some volunteers suffered minor injuries. Soon after, VFW members began considering how to revive the longtime tradition by forming a committee including Past Commander and current Junior Vice Commander Ronnie Blood Jr.
“There’s a lot of tradition with the flag, beginning with my grandfather, then my father, and now my brother Kenny and me,” Blood shared.
Consisting of 542 lightbulbs, the flag was hand-built in the late-1940s by several World War II veterans including his grandfather George “Jeep” Blood. Responsibility for the flag was inherited by two-time Commander Ronald Blood Sr. until he passed away in 2013. Now, the annual flag display is overseen by Ronnie Blood Jr. and his brother Kenny.
Joining the Blood brothers on the committee are Jeff Morse and John Vincent, along with Barbara and Leo Blais who had freshly repainted the flag last year. Initially, the intent was to replace the damaged flag with a new one. Consideration was given to updating its bulbs to light-emitting diode. Fundraising toward the endeavor collected about $1,250 from individuals and businesses.
“Then there was a change of heart,” Blood noted. “Everyone said, ‘Let’s stick with the original flag.’ It has a lot of history and pride.”
Repairs were made to the original flag and its support system was strengthened. Volunteers gathered Nov. 20 to hang the original flag. However, they needed to complete the work a few days later because the post’s storage unit was vandalized and the white lightbulbs were stolen. Excess funds will be held in escrow for maintenance, repair and electricity payments.
The flag is displayed above the Gold Star Mothers Monument. An inscription on the monument’s plaque reads: “Hudson dedicates this tablet in memory of those heroes of all wars who made the supreme sacrifice and whose bodies have not been returned. Lest we forget.”
The Hudson Sesquicentennial Steering Committee is currently discussing a donation to enhance the landscaping at Cox Square as one of several legacy gifts. Cox Square is in front of a house at the junction of Central and Lincoln streets, which was the home of Susan and Willard Cox. Mrs. Cox left a charity fund to care for Hudson residents in need of assistance. Trustees of the town benevolent funds still administer from the Cox Charity Fund.
Hung below the lighted flag is a vinyl banner wishing “Happy Holidays” from the VFW Post 1027. The banner was added after the 9/11/2001 attacks as a way for VFW members to patriotically extend a holiday greeting to the public, noted Bob Normandin, the post’s board president.
“VFW Post 1027 owns, maintains, pays for electricity and does the labor of putting up the flag,” he said. “The banner is to let the town know that it’s sponsored by the VFW – the people who keep us safe.”
Like other veterans, Normandin has fond, longtime memories of the flag.
“I can remember as a child when we’d drive through Wood Square and see the flag,” he recalled. “It’s always been the most beautiful, magnificent thing I’ve ever seen.”