We shall never forget

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

AHOSKIE – Woodmen of the World took part nationwide Saturday in ceremonies to help bring communities together to honor the heroes and victims of September 11, 2001, and to thank those who help protect our communities every day.

In Ahoskie, on Saturday morning, the local Woodmen gathered for a memorial ceremony to mark the anniversary of 9/11/01, a day most Americans will never forget.

To mark the special occasion, the Woodmen brought with them a brand new American flag to hoist up the flagpole they set in front of the Ahoskie Public Library in 2002. The new flag replaces the one they provided to the library last year.

In the somber and inspirational ceremony, the President of the Woodmen, Thomas Leary, remembered 9-11, calling it a day filled with horror and grief that every American experienced.

&uot;We witnessed unthinkable acts of terrorism within the borders of our country,&uot; said Leary. &uot;Today, we are gathered to remember the victims of those tragic attacks, and to honor those who risked their lives.&uot;

As Leary continued, he pointed out that police officers, firefighters, and members of the rescue squad, all from Ahoskie, were present for the ceremony.

&uot;You are our heroes,&uot; he said. &uot;We must treasure each day that we have, and take advantage of every opportunity we can, as you do each day, to share our lives with our fellow man and our families. We are reminded that life is a precious gift that unfortunately can be taken from us all too soon.&uot;

Following Leary’s address to the many people gathered at the flagpole, he asked for a moment of silence as the American flag was raised to the top of the pole and then lowered to half-mast in honor of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attacks.

The retired pastor of Hickory Chapel Church, Rev. Robert May, asked the assembly to bow their heads in prayer for the lost souls, the public safety personnel of this nation, and he also asked God to help America remain &uot;One Nation, under God.&uot;

Patriotism and reverence of the American flag are deeply embedded in Woodmen’s culture, which is why they support Flags Across America, a national event sponsored by the National Flag Foundation.

Woodmen of the World is a nonprofit, fraternal benefit society committed to improving the quality of life in their communities. Founded in 1890, Woodmen is one of the largest fraternal benefit societies in the United States, offering insurance protection with member benefits.

To view the proudly flying new flag, visit Ahoskie Public Library on Church Street.