The Jackson Exchange Club and the Carl Perkins Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse teamed up for their annual ceremony on Tuesday honoring veterans, first responders and victims of child abuse in Tennessee.
They do that with a fundraiser called Flags of Freedom, where sponsors paid for 896 flags to be planted in the ground on the lawn of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Jackson on the Highway 45 By-Pass next to the Doubletree Hotel.
“I just left a meeting of county mayors of West Tennessee at Brooksie’s Barn to be here, and a few of them had seen the flags on the grounds here and were wondering what was going on,” said Madison County Mayor A.J. Massey. “So I appreciate y’all making Madison County look good for them coming in today.
“But this is called ‘Flags of Freedom.’ And despite everything we fight about these days in our country, it’s not ‘Flags of Division’ or ‘Flags of Fighting.’ Freedom is something to be celebrated, and we’re glad to do that today.”
Jackson Mayor Scott Conger touted the efficiency of the first responder agencies in Jackson and Madison County.
“Don’t we have the best police department in the state?” Conger said gesturing to a cluster of Jackson Police officers sitting in a group of pews near the back of the church before the crowd of about 150 clapped for them. “Our fire department, county fire department, sheriff’s office, EMS … they all do great work in the area.
“And we’re glad to honor them and our veterans today.”
Carl Perkins Center Executive Director Pam Nash quoted the statistics for abuse victims nationwide and in Tennessee for 2021.
“You think it always happens somewhere else, but 67 children lost their lives last year as victims of child abuse right here in Tennessee,” Nash said. “And you, our first responders, are often the ones who are the first to enter into a home and find an abuse victim, and we appreciate all the work you do but especially in helping abuse victims.”
After the ceremony, about 30 agents from Woodmen Life Insurance unraveled a large flag (30 feet by 60 feet) in the church’s parking lot as Katie McGill sang “God Bless the USA” and “Taps” was performed on the church’s front porch.