Soldier’s mother: Honor ‘joyous,’ ‘a blessing’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;&045; On Friday, city officials made sure there will be a lasting memorial to a man who gave all he could &045;&045; his service and his life &045;&045; for his country.

In a 9 a.m. ceremony, Northview Drive was renamed Sgt. Henry L. Brown Drive after Natchez’s only soldier killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

&uot;I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child, or anything better than to (give that person) a permanent honor by dedicating a street in their name,&uot; Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said. Such a dedication helps insure &uot;that this town will never forget this young man,&uot; he added, speaking to the crowd of family, friends and officials at the corner of then-Northview and Lynda Lee Drive.

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Alderman David Massey, who Ward 5 includes Sgt. Henry L. Brown Drive, said the event brought to mind the closeness he felt to his fellow Vietnam soldiers, some of whom would not come home.

He also remembered April when, days after Brown’s death in Baghdad, the convention center was filled with Miss-Lou residents for Brown’s memorial service.

&uot;There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,&uot; Massey said.

&uot;As an alderman, you get to do few things that touch your heart, but this does,&uot; he said. Brown, he added, &uot;will be remembered forever. … This is a small token … from our heart.&uot;

Now, Massey said, all the children who grow up on the street where Sgt. Henry L. Brown once grew up will know his name.

After unveiling the sign, Smith presented both Brown’s mother, Rhonda James-Brown, and his wife, JoDona Brown of Savannah, Ga., with a key to the city.

&uot;God bless you and keep you,&uot; he said as hugged both of them.

&uot;It’s joyous. It’s a blessing,&uot; Rhonda James-Brown said with a bright smile, referring to the dedication.

&uot;No one has honored by husband like this,&uot; JoDona Brown said. If Henry Brown could see the ceremony, she said, &uot;He was so funny that he’d probably make a joke or something. He’d smile.&uot;