What an exciting time for Billerica! Thanks to town residents, Mike Rosa and his mother Carol Rosa, who initially got things rolling by bringing forth a warrant article to town meeting. This led to the town selectmen petitioning the legislature to officially name Billerica Massachusetts’ Yankee Doodle Town. State Representative, Marc Lombardo, and Senator Ken Donnelly filed the bill that was truly representative of the wonderful community pride. All these people worked together so our town could be officially recognized for our rich Revolutionary War history, where a young simple farmer, named Thomas Ditson Jr., played an important role. Their dedication to making sure we honor our past, while building for our town’s future demonstrates how small acts are often the catalysts to many wonderful achievements.
On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 nearly 200 Billerica residents, town officials, and students gathered on the front steps of the Billerica Public Library to witness history as they watched Governor Charlie Baker sign a bill designating Billerica as Massachusetts’ official Yankee Doodle town. The children from the Ditson School led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance and the children from the Dutile School sang Yankee Doodle Dandy. Governor Baker said that he originally thought it was just a happy song. Not until this piece of legislation came across his desk did he know the story about Thomas Ditson Jr. At the bill signing ceremony, Governor Baker said, “Thomas Ditson is a special guy.” The residents of Billerica have known Ditson’s, important role in history for a long time. In fact, one of the elementary schools in town bears his name and every September there is a weekend long celebration with a community parade and fireworks called Yankee Doodle Homecoming. Making it all official is just the feather in the cap!