Flag dedication ceremony held in Brantley

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

In a heartfelt ceremony that brought together veterans, community members and local officials, the newly named Dow Sport Brantley Annex celebrated its transformation with a flag dedication – a tribute to the countless soldiers who have trained there over the years and to the military history of the community. 

The event, led by Brantley Mayor Berney Sullivan, featured a new flag and flagpole donated by The Woodmen of the World. Crenshaw County Sheriff Terry Mears assisted with the raising of the American flag.

Sullivan began the ceremony by expressing gratitude to the attendees and acknowledging the generosity of the Woodmen. He called for a moment of silence to honor the soldiers who trained at the old armory and later served across the world, from Vietnam to Desert Storm, and highlighted the ever-present possibility of local soldiers being called upon once again. 

Sullivan, himself a military veteran of 42 years, reflected on the historical significance of the annex which will forever honor Chief Warrant Officer Sport, the namesake of the armory now annex. The mayor highlighted the brave and dedicated soldiers who once trained there, and their unwavering commitment to safeguarding the nation. 

He also reminded the crowd of the motto of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “out of many, one.” According to Sullivan, this motto underscores the idea that America’s strength lies in its diversity and that the nation’s unity is founded on its commitment to freedom, justice and opportunity for all.

Sullivan acknowledged the presence of local soldiers, including Chief Averett and town council person Lieutenant Colonel Ashley Stewart, who served multiple tours. 

“As we walk and drive by this flag in the future, may we always remember the indivisibility of our nation and our commitment to providing freedom, justice and opportunity,” Sullivan said.

Following the mayor’s remarks, several community members shared their thoughts and enthusiasm for the flag dedication.

Pamela Catrett Campbell, representing the Brantley Garden Club, expressed her excitement about the new flag and flagpole. She emphasized that the community takes pride in its town and is truly patriotic. 

“This is exciting, to have another pallet to work on, another opportunity to show that we take pride in our town and that we are a patriotic community,” Campbell said. “I once heard a man say ‘They may not have done many things in Crenshaw County, but they always went to war.’ I don’t know if people realize that we had so many soldiers go to war from Crenshaw County including World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and more.”

As the corresponding secretary of the Crenshaw County Historical Society, Campbell mentioned the numerous inquiries they receive from people seeking information about their ancestors who served in wars and hailed from Crenshaw County. She recounted a recent letter from a high school student in Georgia researching a soldier from the Battle of Guadalcanal, stressing the far reach of the county’s military history. 

The dedication ceremony served as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by the soldiers who trained at Ft. Dow Sport and of the community’s strong ties to its military heritage and enduring commitment to preserving the values that the United States stands for – life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and opportunity for all.