Community rallies to support family

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; It could be seen in the way people from all walks of life &045; even people who had never met Sgt. Henry Brown or his family &045; gathered at the convention center Friday to pay their respects.

Or the six busloads and about 100 carloads of people who traveled to the Natchez National Cemetery to pay their last respects.

Or in the trays upon trays of food brought to the convention center for after the service.

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Or in the way the co-workers of Brown’s mother, Natchez Community Hospital patient care assistant Rhonda James-Brown, came en masse to be there for her.

&uot;We’re all a family, and when family needs you, you’re there,&uot; said Luridean Jackson, a second-floor nurse manager who has known James-Brown for 22 years.

In the almost two weeks since Brown was killed in action in Iraq, people from as far away as Alaska and California have prayed for, called and sent cards to Brown’s family.

The last official count, said one pastor who officiated at Friday’s memorial service, was 151 cards, 10 flower arrangements and one telegram &045; although the family had told him there might actually be twice that many.

&uot;The way Natchez has come together to honor this young man&uot; and support his family, said Maj. Gen. Robert Dail, &uot;says something positive about this community.&uot;

That does not count the resolutions passed by several public bodies &045; Natchez aldermen, Adams County supervisors, even the Natchez High Class of 1999, Brown’s class &045; in his honor.

In the lobby, oversized, dozens of handmade construction paper cards made by children at the Boys & Girls Club of Miss-Lou were displayed.

On the cards, decorated with pasted-on foam hearts, children as young as 7 wrote of their sympathy in crayon.

&uot;The club will always keep him in mind,&uot; one girl wrote of Brown.

&uot;We love you, Henry Brown. Š Rest and peace,&uot; wrote another.

&uot;Present with the Lord, absent in the body,&uot; wrote still another. &uot;You’re an angel watching over us now.&uot;