By Kate Wiltrout
Mar 30, 2008
The setting was humble and wholesome, and so was the food. Fresh-cooked pork barbecue, green beans and homemade pound cake, all served on paper plates at picnic tables inside a giant barn.
The people, too, were humble. Even on a Saturday night when they could gleefully have celebrated their David-vs.-Goliath victory over the U.S. Navy, they refrained.
Instead of high-fives, hundreds of people exchanged thanks – first to God, then for one another, and finally, with a standing ovation, to the lawyers who represented them in court.
In fact, some guests even thanked the Navy for bringing them together.
“I don’t want to say, ‘We beat them,'” Ronnie Askew said. “I want to say, ‘With the good Lord’s help, we showed them the error of their ways.'”
Askew was one of about 500 people in this rural community who packed the Beasley family’s barn for what North Carolinians Opposed to the Outlying Landing Field called, “Our Blessed Celebration.”
It was a party more than four years in the making. One, two and three years ago, similar events packed the barn. But those were fundraisers or get-to-know-you gatherings for politicians, journalists and environmental groups they brought together to talk about the cause.
This night was a chance to savor, finally, the battle that reversed the Navy’s decision in 2003 to make 30,000 acres of farmland in Washington County into a place for Navy jets to practice simulated aircraft carrier landings.
In January, Navy Secretary Donald Winter removed Washington County – Site C, in the Navy’s voluminous study – from the service’s list of potential locations.[FULL ARTICLE]