Red, White & Blue day

Published 2:51 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

WINDSOR – Bertie County’s local, state and national representatives descended upon the Bertie High School Ninth Grade Academy Monday morning.

First District Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), State Senator Ed Jones, (D-4th) and Representative Annie W. Mobley (D-5th) joined members of the Bertie County Commission and Bertie County Board of Education during a flag presentation ceremony.

Congressman Butterfield presented Ninth Grade Academy Principal Trey Peele with a United States flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol Building on April 1, 2009.

Before making his presentation, Butterfield talked about the United States and the world and the duties of members of Congress.

“We do many things,” he said. “For one, I live in North Carolina and work in Washington, D.C. I apologize if I don’t come to this school or this community as much as I would like to.”

He said Congress was on break at the moment, allowing him to spend time in his home district.

Congressman Butterfield talked about the duties of Senator Jones, Representative Mobley and the other elected officials and commended them for working for the citizens of their area.

In turning his focus to the world, Butterfield said this was a “transformational point” in the world and suggested students should be knowledgeable about national and world politics.

“This United States is five percent of the world,” he said. “If we’re going to be a strong and viable country, we must understand the world and get along with the world.”

He said the county itself was great, but also had parts of its history which we weren’t proud of, but added, “we’ve made progress.”

He added, “Twenty-five years ago, you wouldn’t have seen an African-American state senator, state representative or chairman of the board of education or county commission. You wouldn’t have seen that.”

The congressman then read the preamble to the United States Constitution and talked about how it was the “job description” of members of Congress. He said their duty was to keep people safe, provide for their general welfare and provide financial resources.

He then talked about the deficit which has reached, he said, $11 trillion. He said Congress spent $3.5 trillion last year, but only took in $2.3 trillion.

“Every time we run short, we do the same thing you do, we borrow it,” he said. “That has left us $11 trillion in debt and we not only have to pay back the money, but also interest.”

Congressman Butterfield said it was to his understanding that the United States would pay more in interest this year than they would spend on education.

“President (Barack) Obama ran on a platform of change,” he continued. “We must take America in a new direction. That was his promise. He has a challenge, we have a challenge of keeping the promises we’ve made.”

The congressman also talked about universal healthcare.

After his speech, he presented Peele with a flag that was flown over the Capitol for use at the school.

Moments before Congressman Butterfield spoke, Rep. Mobley gave a similar presentation of a North Carolina flag to Peele.

“On behalf of the North Carolina General Assembly, I want to present you with this state flag,” she said.

Mobley said she was particularly pleased to be a part of the ceremony because she taught at the school when it was called Bertie Junior High School.

“It’s an honor to see that Bertie Junior High is kept alive in regards to this academy,” she said.

In addition, Senator Jones read a proclamation declaring his appreciation for being a participant in the flag ceremony and the work of the school.

Bertie County Commission Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. was the master of ceremony for the event and commended a pair of Bertie County men for their help in the effort to have the flags dedicated.

“Coach John Boyles asked me to help him get a flag for the school,” Cherry said. “I told him I would help and I immediately turned to Economic Development Director Steve Biggs.”

Cherry said Biggs worked to help make the event possible and suggested the ceremony to make it a more memorable affair.

Bertie County Board of Education Chairman Rickey Freeman was also present and welcomed everyone to the event.

In attendance were Commissioners Cherry, L.C. Hoggard, J. Wallace Perry and Charles Smith. Also on hand were Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chip Zullinger and Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Perry.

Those leaders also participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Members of the Bertie High School band played the National Anthem while members of the JROTC presented colors.