The Rebellion

Confederate Flag Over Turco Field is Removed

The+confederate+flag+no+longer+flies+on+the+neighbor%27s+property.+Currently%2C+there+are+no+plans+for+how+to+use+the+Walpole+School+Committee+poles%2C+previously+used+to+hang+banners+to+block+the+flag.+%28Photo%2F+Max+Simons%29
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Confederate Flag Over Turco Field is Removed

The confederate flag no longer flies on the neighbor's property. Currently, there are no plans for how to use the Walpole School Committee poles, previously used to hang banners to block the flag. (Photo/ Max Simons)

The confederate flag no longer flies on the neighbor's property. Currently, there are no plans for how to use the Walpole School Committee poles, previously used to hang banners to block the flag. (Photo/ Max Simons)

The confederate flag no longer flies on the neighbor's property. Currently, there are no plans for how to use the Walpole School Committee poles, previously used to hang banners to block the flag. (Photo/ Max Simons)

The confederate flag no longer flies on the neighbor's property. Currently, there are no plans for how to use the Walpole School Committee poles, previously used to hang banners to block the flag. (Photo/ Max Simons)

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The confederate flag no longer flies on the neighbor's property. Currently, there are no plans for how to use the Walpole School Committee poles, previously used to hang banners to block the flag. (Photo/ Max Simons)

The confederate flag no longer flies on the neighbor’s property. Currently, there are no plans for how to use the Walpole School Committee poles, previously used to hang banners to block the flag. (Photo/ Max Simons)

The confederate flag that hung over Turco Field was removed on Wednesday, March 8 at 10:45. According to bostonglobe.com, the family members of recently deceased Walpole resident Joseph Finneran took down the flag that had been in place for about 6 years.

“I am very happy to see the flag removed. For too many years, that flag has caused far too many problems. It did not do anything to make our school stronger. On the contrary, it has only caused a divide within our school, and throughout the community,” said Walpole High School Principal Stephen Imbusch.

The Walpole School Committee had voted this past August to raise two canvas banners to block the symbol, as they decided it was a divisive symbol that the town did not support.

“I am very grateful to whomever made the decision to take the confederate flag down because it has created an erroneous perception of our town,” said School Committee Chairperson Nancy Gallivan.

The Walpole School Committee also encouraged a rebranding effort of the Rebel name throughout the town.

“I believe [the removal of the flag] will have a positive effect on the rebranding effort. The removal of that flag is an indicator of the need for a new symbol that we can all get behind,” said Imbusch.

Students had differing reactions to the removal of the confederate flag near the school’s athletic facilities.

“I think the flag is a big part of our history and people are wrong to take it away. Many kids don’t see it as racism because that’s what they grew up with. It’s a sad day for the Rebels in my eyes,” said senior Kevin O’Leary.

In this picture from February of 2016, the confederate flag overlooks the athletic facilities while the school committee banners were down for the winter. (Photo/Ellie Kalemkeridis)

In this picture from February of 2016, the confederate flag overlooks the athletic facilities while the school committee banners were down for the winter. (Photo/Ellie Kalemkeridis)

“That flag was a symbolic tradition to Walpole, not racism, people can’t come into our town and tell us what our symbols mean. It’s sad it had to be taken down and now forgotten about in our town,” said senior John Jingozian.

“I wish more people were celebrating rather than mourning its absence, it was a very overdue step in the right direction that should have been made decades ago,” said junior Mikaela McSharry. “Ultimately, I’m really happy that we can move forward but it’s ridiculous that it took so long to do so.”

Later on Wednesday evening, Walpole police visited the Finneran property to find out about the removal of the flag. Upon their arrival, a neighbor notified them of an explosive on the property. According to myfoxboston.com, police say they believe it was an old mortar possibly owned by Finneran.

Gallivan explained that she is unsure how the event will affect the rebranding effort but hopes it can be a learning experience.

“I am hopeful that it is a physical reminder that our town wants to be recognized in only positive ways and that the confederate flag’s symbolism divides us, is hurtful and labels us in ways we do not deserve,” said Gallivan. “ I have regularly been proud of Walpole’s students and I hope that this topic brings out the best in all of us.”

Imbusch also hopes students can move past the flag and build confidence in their identity again.

“For some, this can be traumatic and they lash out…. for a handful who have come to rely on it for security, it may be impossible,” said Imbusch, “but the majority of Walpole Rebels will be stronger without this noose around their neck.”

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Confederate Flag Over Turco Field is Removed