Hudson neighborhood repaints flag display created shortly after 9/11

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By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

Hudson neighborhood repaints flag display created shortly after 9/11
Community members from the neighborhood around the Alan Road cul-de-sac in Hudson recently repainted the massive American Flag that has adorned that street since shortly after the Sep. 11 Attacks in 2001. (Photos/Jesse Kucewicz)

HUDSON – Laura Booth made cookies, brownies and coffee cake. 

A neighbor gathered equipment and torched ribbons of stubborn weeds growing through cracks in more than 20-year old asphalt.

Others made plans to come back to town from their new homes. 

A tight-knit community of past and present neighborhood residents all then convened at the cul-de-sac on Alan Road in Hudson this past weekend to retouch the massive American Flag they painted there 20 years ago as a way to reflect on the September 11 Attacks back in 2001.

“I’ve been talking about this for almost a year, I think, and letting people know, bit by bit,” Booth said in a recent interview. “All of a sudden, it just came together and we’re doing it.” 

Tight-knit neighborhood grapples with 9/11 aftermath

Many of the houses that now stand on Alan Road were built at the same time in the 1980s, Booth said. Neighborhood residents grew close soon after moving in, albeit under unique circumstances.

There was a “major issue with the builder,” Booth said. So, residents attended numerous town government meetings, connecting with one another as they sought a resolution to their concerns.

Well over a decade after those initial houses went up, the neighbors remained close as they collectively grappled with the aftermath of 9/11. 

“We all felt it as a group, as a community,” Booth said. “We just watched out for each

Hudson neighborhood repaints flag display created shortly after 9/11
Paint supplies sit in the middle of the Alan Road cul-de-sac in Hudson during a repainting event on Sept. 11. (Photos/Jesse Kucewicz)

other. We know when each other were on vacation. So, I think the emotion was just so strong that we just kind of bonded together even closer.”

The group gathered one night, shortly after the attacks, and decided to paint what became a massive flag covering a large portion of the cul-de-sac within the neighborhood.

An engineer among them planned out the flag’s dimensions. And residents soon got to work. 

Residents repaint flag

Alan Road residents have repainted the flag several times over the years, pushing back weeds and painting over new cracks in what is now an aging road. 

Where the paint has peeled under the strain of harsh New England weather, residents have repeatedly returned bearing brushes and rollers soaked in red, white and blue. 

Booth said some had raised questions and concerns about the display. 

Hudson neighborhood repaints flag display created shortly after 9/11
Community members from the neighborhood around the Alan Road cul-de-sac in Hudson recently repainted the massive American Flag that has adorned that street since shortly after the Sep. 11 Attacks in 2001. (Photo/Jesse Kucewicz)

“We did have one neighbor that thought it was awful that we were going to be driving cars on the American Flag,” she said.

Others, though, feel pride in their neighborhood’s painted flag. 

Booth said she can see the flag from her house. As such, she often sees local children visiting on bikes and scooters. Others bring their antique cars or trucks to pose for photos.

 

‘Most of us won’t be here next time’

This latest repainting of the flag comes at a unique time for a community that grew close before 9/11 and that has remained close in the wake of that horror. 

The young children who left footprints in the paint at past repainting events have now largely grown up. 

Some neighborhood residents have passed away while others have moved. 

Now, some of those that remain, like Booth, are considering their future. 

“I’m 64, I don’t want to move,” she said. “I just love everybody. It’s a quiet neighborhood. I love my house, and I’d stay here forever.” 

But her yard is a burden to maintain, she said. 

“People are talking,” she continued. “Their families have grown up. The families are leaving the house. We don’t need these big houses anymore. So, people are talking about moving.”

Then, there’s the road itself. It’s old. Booth said she expects it will eventually get re-paved. If and when that happens, heavy equipment and new asphalt will erase the painted flag and those faded dimensions, meticulously laid out by that engineer, that have served as guideposts through all these re-painting efforts. 

“Some of us aren’t here this time,” Booth said of this year’s re-painting. “Most of us won’t be here next time.” 

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