Prayers, support here for attack victims

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 14, 2001

As President George Bush declared Friday a national day ofprayer and remembrance for the victims of Tuesday’s terroristattacks, area resident found ways to aid in the recovery andhealing efforts.

On Wednesday, Brookhaven High School was swamped by thosewanting to donate blood for the needy in New York and Washington,D.C.

On Thursday, ribbons and American flags were becoming moreprevalent around Brookhaven and Lincoln County as citizens showtheir support for the country.

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Members of the Brookhaven Exchange Club passed out Americanflags to second grade students in Brookhaven and planned to givethem to Lincoln County second graders Friday.

“The young people need to be aware of what’s going on,”Brookhaven Exchange Club President Harold Gary said about theclub’s project.

Most young people are filled with questions about the deadlyattacks, and many have come to understand that they need to bethankful they were spared and remember those who were not, hesaid.

Ruffin Oberschmidt, 8, of Brookhaven, insisted that his familytie a yellow ribbon around a tree in their front yard Thursdayafternoon as a way he could help.

“On the way to school, he heard on the radio that the victims’families were putting up yellow bows, and he said he wanted to dothat to remind everyone that drives by to pray for them,” hismother, Stacy, said.

Another group of area residents found a way to use one projectto help victims in two ways.

They are making yellow ribbons and red, white and blue ribbonsto be placed on vehicles, trees, mailboxes, houses and worn onclothing to remind residents to pray for the victims and America.The donations the group takes up will be sent to the American RedCross.

“Listening to radio reports that Jackson had rallied together tomake patriotic ribbons and donate the proceeds to the victims, Iknew that Brookhaven would unite and do likewise,” Betty JoCalcote, one of the organizers, said.

Donations will be used to help the Red Cross in providing reliefin all the affected areas through counseling, shelter, blankets,blood donations, food and beverages.

“The Red Cross will continue to be there with comfort and carefor the victims, their families, emergency workers and othersaffected by these tragedies during the weeks, months and even yearsthat the recovery process will take,” Layla Edwards, executivedirector of American Red Cross’ mid-south Mississippi chapter,stated.

Patriotic ribbons are available for a donation from 4-6 p.m.Friday at Central Baptist Church or by calling Calcote at 835-3371.They will also be located at businesses and doctor’s offices aroundBrookhaven during the next week.

Those who volunteered their time Thursday making the ribbonscame together for a variety of reasons, with the common goal ofwanting to make a difference.

“I can feel for the policemen’s wives who wonder if theirhusbands are all right,” said Chasity Falvey, whose husband is aLincoln County sheriff’s deputy.

For Calcote, the pain of “not knowing” has been all too realduring her life. Over the last few days, she has watched thedesperation of family members searching for information about theirloved ones.

“I have walked in their shoes and my heart goes out to them,”Calcote said with emotion filling her voice.

Since Oct. 25, 1983, Calcote has wondered about the safety ofher father, Todd Bracey, who was lost with 80 other men whileworking on the Java Sea, a drilling ship in the South ChinaSea.

The ship was hit by a typhoon and sank shortly after. Only 45bodies were recovered, but not Bracey’s.

Calcote hopes the victims families’ will be more fortunate thanher family has been by getting some news about the victims’whereabouts.

She and other volunteers hope the prayers and thoughts of localresidents will be of some comfort to the victims’ families duringthis time.

“We all need to be behind the president and do whatever we canto help, even if it’s just making ribbons, putting them up andpraying,” said Debbie Carter who made ribbons Thursday.



A prayer vigil will be held Monday at 5:30 p.m. on thesteps of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Government Complex, saidFourth District U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows.

Shows said citizens are invited to come and join friendsand neighbors in prayer following Tuesday’s attacks in Washingtonand New York. Area ministers will be on hand to lead and offerprayers.

“Mississippians are a praying people because we know thepower and strength and healing that comes with prayer,” Shows said.”Personally, I need to join with my fellow Mississippians inprayer, and I know that others may feel that way as well. So I amproviding this opportunity to come together in prayer for ournation, those we have lost and for healing andguidance.”