HALEYVILLE - A ceremony held at the flag pole at Haleyville Middle School on Tuesday, October 22, set the stage for the dedication of the school's flag pole and a special monument named in honor of Senior Airman Mark Forester, who lost his life defending his country in Afghanistan in 2010.
The ceremony was attended by Mark's parents Ray and Pat Forester along with his sister Terri Forester Cox, along with local and state officials, school faculty and staff literally meeting at the pole where HCS Superintendent Dr. Holly Sutherland welcomed everyone in attendance and gave many attributes to Forester, his role in defending the nation's freedom and his passion for his country.
State Representative Proncey Robertson provided a $750 Community Service Grant to the Haleyville Board of Education which will be given to the Mark Forester Foundation.
The ceremony was ironic in marking the 20th anniversary of Forester's graduation from Haleyville High School in 1999.
Representative Robertson also presented a state flag to fly on the pole underneath the American flag. Doing the honors of hoisting the new state flag were members of the Haleyville Elementary School Student Government Association.
This was followed by the national anthem performed by the high school band directed by Reggie Tolbert with assistance from director Judd Williams.
Student Eli Dodd read a patriotic essay, and special remarks were made by Cox on behalf of her brother. She noted that Mark was greatly stirred after the terrorist attacks against the nation in Sept. 11, 2001, and at his camp in Afhganistan displayed a picture of Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the attacks, as a means of motivation to fight the enemy.
The Haleyville High School SGA then presented the Forester family with a framed copy of the memorial as well as a football signed by all members of the high school football team.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.