Friday, April 16, 1999
April 19th: Always a special day for Minuteman Charles Forsberg
When veteran Carlisle Minuteman Charlie Forsberg awakes early Monday morning, April 19, he'll hurry to slip on his knickers, white stockings, buckle shoes, peasant shirt and vest, grab his tri-cornered hat and musket and head for the Carlisle Green. If he's lucky, there will be just enough time to eat a hearty breakfast, for there are many miles to hike this day. The route that the Minutemen will take goes down School Street to Bellows Hill Road, through the Estabrook Woods, to the Old North Bridge, down Monument Street to Concord Center past the reviewing stands and finally to the Armory on Stow Street.
Ever since Forsberg moved to Carlisle in 1969, he has taken part in Carlisle's reenactment of the farmers' march to Concord to join neighboring companies assembled at the North Bridge to fight the British, the beginning of the American struggle for independence. This year's Patriots Day celebration marks the 224th anniversary of that event.
Sounds of the church bells pealing at 6:45 a.m. will welcome Patriots Day 1999. As Forsberg joins his fellow Minutemen, a company of 25 this year (there were 50 at the time of the Bicentennial in 1975 but only 16 in the original group, back in 1775), he'll see old friends, as well as two of the original founders of the group in 1967Dick Wright and Jim Davis. Women were invited to become Minutemen several years ago, so Charlene Hinton, Karen Liessner, Emily Evans, Gina Perini, Rebecca Harvey and Joan Abbott will be there too.
Thanks to State Representative Susan Fargo's amendment to the law passed last summer requiring guns to have trigger locks, firearms dating back to Revolutionary War times have been exempted, for ceremonies and reenactments of Colonial events. Thus, the 7 a.m. flag raising and musket salute will take place as usual, before the troops and assembled townspeople step off on their way to Concord. (a 4.6-mile hike through the woods to Buttricks Hill overlooking the bridge).
Forsberg has many memories from these 30 years as a Carlisle Minuteman. "In the early days, the selectmen always marched as part of the group," said Forsberg. "That hasn't happened in recent years." As for the weather, Forsberg says they have marched when the temperature was in the seventies, sometimes in rain or hail, and occasionally through falling snow.
At the Bicentennial celebration in 1975 he remembers standing for hours waiting for President Jerry Ford to arrive for ceremonies at the Old North Bridge and the final march of the parade into Concord. That was the year Vietnam war protesters camped out overnight on the hillside overlooking the bridge. "We had instructions on how to be non- confrontational," recalled Forsberg.
Forsberg enjoys the camaraderie of the group, who all have a similar interest in colonial times. He mentions Stuart Harvey, the sergeant-at-arms. "He's first classhe shapes us up calling the cadence. He's responsible for ensuring company discipline and keeping us in step, all the way to the reviewing stand, in front of Middlesex Savings Bank in Concord," said Forsberg.
Charlie Forsberg, a retired engineer and now manager of Carlisle Village Court, isn't the only one from his family who has been involved with the Carlisle Minutemen. When sons Bob and Scott were growing up, they marched and played the drums. Andy carried the flag and Charlie's wife, Joanne, was a Minuteman's wife during the Bicentennial year. "It's a hobby. It's something I like to take part in," admitted Forsberg. "The family became part of it too."
Although Patriots Day is the most important event for the Carlisle Minutemen, they also march on Memorial Day and on the Fourth of July, as well as tend a recruiting booth after the Old Home Day parade.
The following are members of the Carlisle Minutemen Company: Peter Benedict, Jim Burke, Nick Chase, James Davis Jr., Richard Dweck, Emily Evans, Marshall Evans, Scott T. Evans, Stephen Evans, Charlie Forsberg, Miles Goff, Bill Guild, Fred Halstrom, Rebecca Harvey, Stewart Harvey, Charlene Hinton, Parkman Howe, Michael Johnson, Ken Jung, Geoffrey Larson, Greg Liessner, Karen Liessner, Gabor Miskolczy, Gina Perini, and Richard Wright.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito