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Locals pay tribute to 9-11

MURFREESBORO – America mourned the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks earlier this week.

The Woodmen of the World Lodge conducted patriotic ceremonies Sunday in Murfreesboro and Monday in Ahoskie to honor the heroes and victims of September 11 and to salute the local heroes who protect our community.

&uot;None of us will ever forget the sorrow we felt after September 11,&uot; said Dr. Thomas Leary, President of the Woodmen of the World Lodge in Ahoskie. &uot;Life is indeed a precious gift. With great pride we dedicate this flag.&uot;

The ceremonies came as Hurricane Katrina left Americans once again struggling with a painful disaster that left Americans grieving.

The ceremonies in Ahoskie and in Murfreesboro were two of several thousand across the nation. The ceremonies were titled &uot;In Honor and Remembrance – Woodmen Salutes America’s Heroes&uot; and included recognition of the police officers, members of the armed forces and others who help safeguard our community and our nation throughout the year.

The ceremonies were held at Murfreesboro’s Jefcoat Museum and in front of Town Hall in Ahoskie. Both included the dedication of new American flags and patriotic songs and in Murfreesboro a new flagpole and a bronze plaque were dedicated.

Ceremony participants in Ahoskie recited the Pledge of Allegiance and listened as Taps was played to honor the nation’s fallen heroes.

&uot;On behalf of the town of Ahoskie, I express appreciation for the great work the Woodmen of the World do for the community,&uot; Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn said.

William Leary, Secretary of the Ahoskie Woodmen Lodge and Bryant Norville, also a Woodmen, raised the new flag in front of the Town Hall.

This is the fourth year the Woodmen of the World have sponsored the In Honor and Remembrance project, with more than 1,600 ceremonies having been conducted by Woodmen lodges since 2002. The ceremonies are held at town halls, police and fire stations, schools and other community buildings and include the dedication of flagpoles and commemorative plaques and the presentation of U.S. flags.

&uot;Our generation has to learn, as the generations before us have learned, that the values of liberty cannot be taken for granted,&uot; Leary said.

Participating in the Murfreesboro ceremony were William (Bill) Stephens, Murfreesboro Town Council, Reverend Wint Hale, Pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, Chris Jernigan, Chowan College student, Kay Parker, Woodmen Field Representative, JoAnn Nelson, President of Lodge 862, Dodson Doughtie, of the Jefcoat Museum, Police Chief Darrell Rowe and Officer David Griffith, Sheriff Juan Vaughan, Hertford County Sheriff, Lee Thompson and Billy Helms of the Murfreesboro Fire Department, SGM Rick Harris, MAJ Stewart Nanney, and LTC George Robinson of the National Guard, SSG Darrick McGee of the U.S. Army and David Farnham, President of the Murfreesboro Historical Association.

JoAnn Nelson, President of Lodge 862 stated during her remarks, &uot;Today we are gathered to remember those who have lost their lives in the struggle against terrorism – those who perished on September 11, 2001 and those who have died in combat in the Middle East. We also honor those who risked their lives so others might live. We celebrate the enduring spirit of all Americans, the spirit of compassion, concern and community that has helped us through this difficult chapter in our nation’s history.&uot;

David Farnham, President of the Murfreesboro Historical Association stated in his closing remarks, &uot;We want to thank the Woodmen of the World for the gift of the pole and flag here at the Jefcoat Museum. Let this symbol serve as a constant reminder of how very patriotic and resilient Americans can be when we are aroused. May God help us and guide us to always use this passion for the good of mankind.&uot;

Woodmen of the World is a fraternal benefit society offering insurance protection and financial security with member benefits. Woodmen members, who belong to more than 2,000 lodges throughout the United States, conduct volunteer and patriotic activities that benefit individuals, families and communities.