The Honor of a Lifetime: Hopedale’s Flag Day

Linda Hixon
The chair of honor.
Issue Date: 
July, 2019
Article Body: 

The two chairs sat side-by-side, draped with banners that read “America.” But one of the chairs was empty. Only a portrait of a couple rested on the seat, along with the memories of a man who volunteered his retirement years to making Hopedale a better town.
This year’s retired American flag, which flew outside the Little Red Shop Museum on Hopedale Street, was given to Karen Pendleton, a Hopedale native. She and her husband, David, raised their two sons in town, and this honor was shared by the couple even though David passed in 2016.
LRS volunteer curator Sue Ciaramicoli noted that the flag was being given for the Pendleton’s “outstanding service” to the town. She called the pair “exemplary volunteers in the Hopedale community and beyond.”
After David’s retirement as a civilian employee for the U.S. Air Force, he and Karen, who herself served in the military, began devoting time to the community. The couple were active in the Union Evangelical Church on Dutcher Street, and after Karen met Dan Malloy while volunteering at Bancroft Memorial Library, the Pendletons became involved in the Little Red Shop in 2007. They manned their own table at Hopedale’s annual Day in the Park for many years, with Karen selling her pen-and-ink drawings and David selling his homemade jams, earning him the nickname “Jam Man.” In fact, David became known around town as a creative cook, and, fittingly, he was a long-time volunteer firefighter with the Hopedale Fire Department.
“This is a very special event. Not all communities do this,” State Representative Brian Murray told the large crowd of residents, veterans, and scouts – boys and girls – of all ages. Jason King of state Senator Ryan Fattman’s office, a veteran of the Iraqi War, attended the ceremony. Hopedale Selectman Thomas Wesley also took the podium, reading portions of Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again.” Carly Alden sang several patriotic songs, including all stanzas of “America, the Beautiful.”
Local resident and former Marine Tom Beder acted as Master of Ceremonies wearing the red jacket of the Marine Corps League, a group that works to preserve the traditions of the Marines. Beder and Hopedale Police Lieutenant Don Martin helped coordinate the activities. Members of Hopedale’s Girl Scouts participated in the festivities, and Hopedale Boy Scout Troop 1 conducted the flag lowering and raising ceremonies under a stiff breeze.
Karen Pendleton told the crowd her husband of 42 years would have been pleased with the honor. This year marks the tenth year the Little Red Shop has hosted Hopedale’s Flag Day ceremony. You can visit the Little Red Shop Museum, 12 Hopedale Street, this summer to learn about Hopedale’s industrial history. The museum will be hosting Open House Sundays on July 7 and 21, and on August 4 and 18, and will be open from 1-4 p.m. on those days.