For nearly 50-years, the tall willow oak tree has stood at the south end of Downtown Goldsboro.
Thursday, the Freedom Tree was re-dedicated as part of this week’s activities leading up to NC Freedom Fest.
The tree was planted at the corner of Center and Spruce streets in honor of Air Force Captain Peter Cleary who was shot down and declared MIA in 1972.
Technical Sgt. Christine Intorre from the Seymour Johnson Chapter of the Air Force Sergeants Association says greeted the audience, and says we need to remember we are “one community” in recognizing our nation’s former prisoners of war and those still missing.
Col. Tammy McElhaney, the Commander of the 4th Mission Support Group at Seymour Johnson, says the nation has made the promise to “never forget those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
Col. Mcelhaney reminded that 81,000 are still missing from previous conflicts.
Former Goldsboro Mayor Tommy Gibson was there when the Freedom Tree was first planted, and he called the location “hallowed ground.”
As part of the ceremony, members of the Cleary family and the City of Goldsboro were presented with painting of the Freedom Tree.
Following the Freedom tree’s re-dedication, volunteers began a 24-hour effort to carry the POW/MIA Flag through Downtown Goldsboro.
That effort, coordinated by the SJAFB Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 371, will come to an end as the flag is carried to Wayne Community College for the closing ceremony for “The Moving Wall” at 3 PM today (Friday).