6-19 freedom shrine

Photo used with permission of Vickie Ketchie Members of the Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club, school and town officials and guests stand before the Freedom Shrine re-dedicated at Mooresville High School.

Twenty-six people gathered on in early June in the media center at Mooresville High School for the re-dedication of the new Freedom Shrine provided by the Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club. The Freedom Shrine is a display of 30 historic American documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and more.

Members of the club, along with school officials, Mooresville Graded School District Board of Education members, town officials and guests had the opportunity to see the documents, which were hung on the media center walls.

Principal Eric Schwarzenegger said that the media center is a high-traffic area, and the documents would spark inquiry. A large chunk of the day in the library is quiet, he noted, and the students will have “time to look at the documents and it can be really impactful.” MGSD Board Chair Roger Hyatt shared that he was principal when the original Freedom Shrine was installed and challenged each to read the script. Both Hyatt and Superintendent Dr. Stephen Mauney noted having the documents there can help refocus and remember our history. Commissioner Thurman Houston said that he was a 1970 alumni of the school and it was a “real honor for him. The Freedom Shrine allows students to learn about significant events to share history,” he continued.

Ryan Pegarsch, president of the local club, expressed his thanks and said “this is an honor to re-dedicate this shrine. It can be used to teach.” He then introduced Bob Amon, who served as the speaker for the event. Amon is a local business owner and history aficionado. He began his talk by asking the group a question – “Is history alive to you or is it boring?” He then related two stories bringing history close to home.

“History is all around us in Mooresville,” Amon noted.

The first story was of the local connection to the dime as he told of Selma Burke, famous sculptor who was born in Mooresville and how her portrait of President Franklin Roosevelt inspired the profile found on the dime. His second story was about local war hero Tim McNeely and how he became the first local victim of the terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon. Upon hearing the news, Amon shared that “this made us realize even more what price had been paid for us.”

“America came about because of dreams,” he said. Looking at the documents, he continued, “these are the people who had dreams. We hope that at least one person will stop and look and study about these people who wrote these documents. If we can get at least one person to look and make a difference, it has been a good day."

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