Overdue Recognition

To the Editor:

In last week’s issue, The Bee took note of the short ceremony conducted August 15 to honor the keepers of our iconic flagpole, but failed to mention the extent of their decades of quiet and faithful service to our town. It is truly remarkable.

Huge credit is due to retired Newtown Police Lt. David Lydem, our town’s flagkeeper, a volunteer position in which he has served since 1983 – 30 years of service. (But actually, Lt. Lydem originally began duties raising and lowering the flag when he joined the police force in 1967.)

It was Lt. Lydem who, upon seeing that the flagpole was in bad disrepair, organized the efforts that have now made it a core symbol of town pride. He saw to repairs and improvements, so that the original small (6 x 8) Flags grew to 12 x 18 in winter, and the grand 20 x 30 size in summer. He oversaw the addition of full-time lighting, which allows the flag to be displayed 24 hours a day. When he took over in 1983, the pole had been missing its finial (the ball on top) for more than a year. He saw to its replacement and, when the ball fell off again in recent years, saw to it once again.

But perhaps most important among Lt. Lydem’s accomplishments was to assemble a dedicated team of volunteers to help with the flagpole.

Among them are the members of Newtown Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1. For many years now, they have turned out faithfully when called upon to raise and lower the flag. This is above and beyond their invaluable duties in fire and rescue.

The Newtown Lions Club for many years has provided the funding for the large summer flags. And in recent years Newtown Hardware has funded the winter flags.

It is one of the primary missions of the Sons of the American Revolution to honor those who honor our nation’s flag. Thus it was with great pride that our Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin Branch No. 9, Connecticut Society, Sons of the American Revolution conducted the ceremony August 15 and awarded certificates to each of these organizations, as well as a special medal to Lt. Lydem.

Again, all the members of the flagpole team are volunteers and they have gone about their tasks with quiet diligence. Recognition is long overdue.

David Shugarts

19 Wendover Road, Newtown                     August 26, 2013

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