Woodmen of the World donates flag to Dempsey
BELGREEN – Nearly 30 people attended a flag dedication ceremony last Saturday at Dempsey Cemetery, which is located directly across from James Chapel Missionary Baptist Church on Hwy. 424.
The Woodmen of the World Lodge 1870 in Franklin County donated a new U.S. flag and flag pole to the cemetery, while the national organization has dedicated nearly 3,000 flag poles in the U.S.
Dempsey Cemetery contains more than 400 graves, including the burials sites of military veterans and Lucy Wilson, who was the first person buried in the cemetery in 1918.
"This is an honor and remembrance ceremony, and this was personal to us because there are 20 or so veterans buried here," said J.O. Lemay, president of Lodge 1870.
Hal Bray, chair of the Dempsey Cemetery Board, was thankful for the donation.
"This is something we welcomed, and I know J.O. has been working on this project for a while. I think this is a way for us to honor the veterans that are buried here."
Gabriel Patterson, Dillon Borden, Seth Taylor and Jake Taylor of Cub Scout Troop 101 provided the honor guard for the ceremony.
"Whenever we have the opportunity, Cub Scouts serve as honor guards," said Webster Wade, scout leader for Troop 101. "This the first flag ceremony for the Belgreen troop."
Brian Gable, field representative for Woodmen of the World, was the featured speaker for the ceremony.
"Since 1947, 1.8 million flags have been donated by Woodmen of the World, and we're the second largest distributor of American flags behind the U.S. government," Gable said. "Abraham Lincoln said, 'Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure,' and I thank God for our freedom and those that paid the price for us to be here today. It was fitting that we dedicate this flag today because it represents the enduring spirit of all Americans."
He said it's important to take the time to honor the country's everyday heroes.
"Sometimes we think our heroes are Spider-Man and Superman but there are actually heroes among us," Gable said. "Since 2007 we have been distributing flag poles and flags to honor the heroes of Sept. 11 and our men and women in the (military).
"We also do this to honor people in the community – police officers, firefighters and emergency rescue personnel – because they all deserve respect and recognition for their service."