Letter – Resounding success

Published 6:07 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I wish to thank some stalwart county and town employees for efforts “above and beyond the call of duty” for helping make our Independence Day bell-ringing ceremony at the courthouse complex a success. 

The Commonwealth VA250 Commission, charged with commemorating Virginia’s “semiquincentennial” of the American Revolution, announced a statewide ceremony only days before it was supposed to happen. All Virginians were invited to chime local bells 13 times at 5 p.m. on July 4th to symbolize the original 13 colonies. 

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Judy Winslow, our tourism director and chair of our local VA250 committee, immediately approved a sketchy plan for tolling the historic county courthouse bell. Thank you, Judy! Jennifer England, director of Isle of Wight County Historic Resources, quickly obtained a 13-star “Betsy Ross” Flag for the celebration. 

Kathy Mountjoy volunteered to give up part of her national holiday to take pictures. Thanks, Kathy! 

But the most dramatic “emergency” assistance was given by Lee Marshall of Isle of Wight Public Works (Lee is also chief of Windsor Volunteer Fire Department.) When an active flying-insect nest was discovered inside the cherished bell, Lee and an assistant sprang instantly to action and rendered harmless the “bees” buzzing our beautiful belfry. Way to go, Lee! 

And last, but certainly not least, The Smithfield Times reacted swiftly to a late request to include the ceremony in last week’s Community Calendar to let everyone know. Thanks again to all and especially the 13 dedicated bell ringers who braved 90-degree-plus temperatures to assemble at the county seat for this resounding event.


Albert P. Burckard Jr.