A river of gratitude

Published 8:29 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

I am a public speaker, I am a minister, so I preach, and I do podcasts and radio and television interviews, so I am never at a loss for words, just ask Milt, my hubby.

However, this weekend left me speechless. I just had no words to adequately express the river of gratitude that flowed through my heart, and the overflow of love that I experienced during the wonderful Juneteenth events that occurred Saturday through Monday.  It was beyond beautiful to see so many people from all walks of life come together and celebrate this special time in our history.  As the kids would say, ‘Washington showed up and Washington showed out.”

We began the day with the historic Pomeroy Marker dedication of Jack’s Creek that is a collaboration of the City of Washington, the Brown Library and the Underground Railroad Museum. The marker is the second of many to be installed around Washington and Beaufort County to develop a history and ‘story trail’ to share the delightful folk tales, history and culture of Washington with residents and tourists.

Then to the wonderful historic Juneteenth ceremony at the Presbyterian Church where Pastor Larry Darnell and his amazing congregation went above and beyond all I could have ask or thought in accommodating the participants and those who attended.

Then there’s Cameron, a young man of eleven who attends the church and showed us why we need the heart of a child to do kind acts of just pure love.

So grateful to Henry Capogna, who read the entire Emancipation Proclamation so beautifully, some men and women’s eyes filled with tears. And then there was Nidia Martinez and Virginia Finnerty, who read the proclamation in Spanish, whose voices were so pure and beautiful, it would rival voices of angels singing.

Councilman William Pitt, a true statesman, said words that echoed the true spirit of Juneteenth. I was so thankful WITN News was there and shared his words to all of its viewers.

Our special guest, Naomi A. Randolph Hweshununu, blessed our spirits and souls with a stirring inspiring song and read the poem her ancestor wrote in 1864 with such great dignity.  The Beaufort County Traditional Music Association played the hymns of most of our childhoods that still reside in us and came flowing out as we sang along.

There were so many, many special people and moments that morning that made a beautiful tapestry of what we all are and are becoming. I apologize not for mentioning them all here.

The Estuarium history boat rides brought many out-of-towners to Washington and they stayed to enjoy the parade and the city.  Our history partners and snack stations gave out tasty treats to all and shared the best of Washington and Beaufort County.

By the time we got to Beebe Park for the afternoon festivities the river of gratitude running through my heart was beyond overflowing.

When the NAACP presented the Underground Railroad Museum with a beautiful plaque, when asked to speak, I simply did not have words. I had tears of deep gratitude but I fought for words to say it. To the NAACP I say what I couldn’t say then. Thank you so much. I found my voice a little later when asked to talk about the rest of the weekend’s activities.

Milt and I ended the day dancing, meeting new friends, sharing ideas with city planners and organizations, laughing and playing with the children at the park, and loving all this town did from Saturday morning to’ A Night at the Museum’ on Sunday night, and a special Juneteenth Library exhibit on Monday with our partner Beaufort County Community College.

This town made me so proud.  Thank you to all who made Juneteenth 2022 one that set a standard for how well things work when we work together. Thank you!