Marlborough flag display seeks to prompt conversations about 9/11


By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

Marlborough flag display seeks to prompt conversations about 9/11
A large sign proclaims “Marlborough Never Forgets, 9-01-11” at the sprawling flag display on the lawn of the Walker Building. (Photos/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – The Walker Building in Marlborough shone in red, white and blue last week in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. 

On the lawn before it, meanwhile, 3,000 flags fanned out in a meticulously planned display that has become the familiar annual creation of Marlborough’s Rob Seymour. 

“That’s almost like the gateway to downtown Marlborough and people coming in will see that,” Seymour said of the Walker Building and the flag display in a recent interview. “From my perspective, it is a very stark reminder of what happened.”

Flag display moves forward with city support

Seymour helped organize a major event in Marlborough to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 back in 2011. 

From that point, he and others decided it would be ideal to turn their work into a new tradition for the city.

“We thought it was something we should continue as a way to remember 9/11,” he said. 

Over the years, Seymour has worked with many volunteers and a number of individuals employed by the City of Marlborough to perfect and execute the process of installing the flags. 

He’s especially thankful to Mayor Arthur Vigeant and the staff of the Department of Public Works, who helped build and install a large wooden sign on the Walker Building lawn reading “Marlborough Never Forgets, 9-11-01.” 

Seymour shares additional thanks for Dan Jackson, Louie Beebe and Tom Dipersio, in addition to city Assistant Commissioner of Utilities Chris LaFreniere, who designed the actual layout of the flags. 

“It is overwhelmingly positive and supportive,” he said of the city’s response to his continued efforts regarding the flag display. 

Display focuses on education, remembering

Marlborough flag display seeks to prompt conversations about 9/11
Marlborough’s doughboy memorial rises over a field of flags on the lawn of the Walker Building. (Photos/Dakota Antelman)

Twenty years removed from 9/11, Seymour does not want to forget the events and sacrifices of that day. Likewise, he hopes to spotlight the sacrifices service members made in the months and now years following the attacks. 

“The best way that we can honor the memory is to ensure that those people are never forgotten, whether you’re talking about service members or the victims of 911 themselves,” he said.

The flag display is Seymour’s effort to ensure his community does not forget. 

“I almost feel like it’s a personal responsibility to share that information and to share those stories,” he said. 

Indeed, the process of remembering is beginning to take on a new dimension. A large number of individuals alive today were either born after 9/11 or were too young to remember the events of that day. 

Seymour hopes his flags prompt conversation to educate those young people on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“This is meant to be a solemn reminder,” he said. “But also it’s an opportunity to educate high schoolers or younger children, who weren’t around, weren’t alive when 9/11 happened.”

Flag display continues 

Marlborough flag display seeks to prompt conversations about 9/11
Flags spilled across the lawn of the Walker Building in Marlborough, marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11. (Photos/Dakota Antelman)

Seymour made the trip to the Walker Building the night before this year’s major anniversary of Sept. 11. 

He had the honor, he said, of lowering the full size flag that towers over the Walker Building lawn to half staff. 

The flags continued to wave, though the night and into a third decade since 9/11 reshaped America. 

The memories remain potent. Sharing them, Seymour said, remains a crucial duty.

“It’s incredible because it is etched into people’s memories,” he said. “I think it’s just so important now, not to keep it there, but to share that information.”

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