Ceremony to be held at fair

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A ceremony recognizing and honoring area military and emergency service workers will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Crawford County Fair in Mulberry.

All those attending the fair Wednesday night will be asked to honor the “dedicated protectors of freedom, community and lives,” said Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter.

All military, police, first responders, firefighters and law enforcement are invited to attend the event, Baxter said. The normal one canned good per person admission for that night will be waived for all those in uniform.

“We’re inviting them to come down to the fair and bring their families,” Baxter said. “We’d just like to say thank you and that we don’t forget you are in a dangerous job and you protect us.”

While in the process of planning for the county fair, Baxter said he realized Wednesday was Sept. 11. He spoke to fair organizers to plan the event, he said.

Baxter talked to Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory and Mulberry Fire Chief Jeff Marvin, asking them to get the word out to area law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders.

“They are servants of the community and they do that for little pay, so whenever we have the the opportunity we should thank them,” Baxter said.

Lt. Col. Thomas Smith, chaplain for the Air National Guard 199th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith, will sing the National Anthem to start off the recognition ceremony.

Smith’s song will be followed by a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer for the dedicated professionals, Baxter said. Fair attendees also will be asked to personally thank those in uniform as they pass them during the fair, he said.

“This is pretty important and our country is going through a lot of upheaval at the national level,” Baxter said. “We want to remember we live in a dangerous world and there’s always people out there who want to harm the United States because we have been blessed.”

A performance by bluegrass band Crooked and Steep will directly follow the recognition ceremony.

Though Baxter said he knew a ceremony honoring area military and emergency personnel is planned for noon on Wednesday at the Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren, “we hated to got through that day at the fair without recognizing them,” he said.

A survivor of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center complex in New York City will tell his story during a “9/11 Memorial and Call to Prayer” on the Courthouse lawn Wednesday. Prayers will be offered by local city leaders, emergency personnel and members of the military.

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