Cornerstone of veterans memorial dedicated
Anne Clark staff writer
TRENTON - A stiff breeze snapped the American flag as it rose above the foundation of the veterans memorial Dec. 11, the day that members of Trenton-based Zion Lodge No. 81 dedicated a cornerstone on one end of the U-shaped brick base. The memorial, when completed, will arc around the front of the Jones County civic center.
The cornerstone's plaque honors Masonic veterans. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization, one of the oldest in the world, with an emphasis on solid moral conduct, charitable work and belief in a higher power. A small crowd gathered on the cold mud as Lodge Chaplain Johnny Surles began the dedication ceremony.
"Father, in the beginning you laid the foundation of earth and the heavens," said Surles. "We, your servants, dedicate this memorial stone to the highest interest of this community."
The Masons also have an affinity for the military.
"Keep the servicemen in your thoughts and prayers," said Lt. Col. Michael Harriett, U.S. Army National Guard. "It's a trying time for them."
Various Masonic officers then inspected the stone and found that it was level and sturdy.
"We didn't dedicate the memorial, only the memorial stone," said Bob Meadows, treasurer of Zion Lodge No. 81. "The American Legion gave us the privilege of doing that."
Toward the end of the ceremony, Mason and war veteran Frank Harriett stepped forward to receive the Masons' Grand Master's pin. Harriett is a retired design engineer who served with the U.S. Navy in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea during World War II. Harriett was assigned to motor torpedo boats and was a member of P.T. 124. He designed the Jones County veterans memorial, inspired by other monuments he observed across three states.
"We wanted to have a monument like other counties, to represent our deceased veterans killed during conflict," said Harriett, also a member of the Jones County veterans' memorial committee with George Davenport and Linwood Cox. "The names of the 17 servicemen that weren't here today, those names will be on three tablets. They're the ones who didn't come back."
The Masons paid $500 for their cornerstone; the rest of the money raised toward the veterans' memorial has so far been raised within Jones County.
"We're still taking donations," said Harriett.
Phase two of the memorial will begin early next year and is expected to be complete by August 2005.