As the sun set over the verdant rows of peanuts and cotton that surround this rural corner of Jackson County, more than 80 citizens gathered next to a brand new flagless flag pole located near the Malone Volunteer Fire Department. There they remembered the tragedy of 9-11, and honored their local first responders: fire fighters, law enforcement officers and emergency management personnel.
The local lodge of Woodmen of the World donated the thirty-foot flagpole and flag to the town of Malone as part of WOW’s community flag projects. Patriotism and reverence for the American flag are deeply embedded in Woodmen of the World’s culture, which supports Flags Across America, a nationwide event designed to instill a greater sense of patriotism in all Americans, and to bring communities together to celebrate our freedom and liberty.
The Malone "Salute to America’s Heroes" began with a welcome by Gene Wright, mayor of Malone; the invocation was delivered by Dr. George H. Kinchen, Jr., pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. The guest speaker was Mrs. Theresa Bergman, a member of the Malone Town Council and a native New Yorker. Bergman gave a first-hand view of the 9-11 tragedy and its effect on the citizens of the New York City area. Rhonda Byrd, president of WOW Lodge 65, officially dedicated the new flag and flag pole and recognized the first responders and veterans present at the ceremony.
Dillon Kilpatrick and Doug Neel, representatives of American Legion Post 241, raised the new United States flag; then lowered it to half-staff in honor of those lost in the 9-11 tragedy, while the Star Spangled Banner was sung by Malone School student Storm Floyd. The Pledge of Allegiance was lead by Holly Askew, Little Miss Malone, Lindsey Wyatt, Junior Miss Malone and Keyonis Shack, Miss Malone.
Second only to the United States government in volume of flags purchased each year, Woodmen of the World celebrates and honors the American flag throughout the year, and presents flags to deserving organizations in communities, and plans celebrations centered around the flag.