Anniversaries, mile markers in time

It seems we’re celebrating a lot of anniversaries recently.

It started last year with the 100th anniversary of Canetuck Rosenwald School, now known as the Canetuck Community Center.

That’s an amazing milestone. One hundred years of education, community involvement, and preservation. It’s a place where legacy is celebrated.

The Canetuck School was built by Black families for their children’s future during segregation. Black families were not segregated when it came to paying taxes and their tax dollars were often funneled to build new schools for whites and purchase new textbooks. But the families of Canetuck paid their taxes and continued to donate funds to build the school for their children. A small portion of the monies raised was matched by Julius Rosenwald, a part-owner and leader in the Sears, Roebuck Company.

The Canetuck School was honored with a place on the National Historic Register, as it should be. Thankfully community members and former students preserved their school to share with us as a reminder that education matters.

Speaking of education, the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center celebrated its 25th anniversary of the hospital. While work by volunteers such as Sandy Sly, Terry Meyer, and founder Jean Beasley began before the hospital opened, their work continues to raise environmental awareness and preservation of endangered sea turtles.

The town in which the sea turtle hospital was based in the early years was the Town of Topsail Beach. The town celebrated its 60th anniversary of incorporation with a community meal of Brunswick stew, sharing of historic photos, and neighbors visiting over dinner.

Looking ahead, we have some major anniversaries to anticipate.

Burgaw, the county seat, will celebrate 145 years in 2024. We can expect some fun special events.

The Town of Surf City will celebrate 75 years of incorporation in 2024. Surf City Parks and Recreation Department is planning events throughout the year in celebration. 

In 2025, Pender County will celebrate its sesquicentennial. One hundred and fifty years of being a county. As historian and retired judge Gary Trawick reminds us, the county was born in reconstruction.

The granddaddy of anniversaries will happen in 2026, as we celebrate the birth of a nation. America will celebrate 250 years of independence. That story may not have transpired had it not been for the first independence-seekers at Moores Creek Bridge. The battle changed the momentum of the Revolutionary War, emboldened others to fight for freedom from British rule, and led to the Halifax Resolves. Because of the victory at Moores Creek, North Carolina was the first colony to break away and declare independence.

The national kickoff of America’s birthday will start at Moores Creek National Battlefield.

Plans are already being made to celebrate “Our Nation, Our Story.”

Won’t you join us in celebrating our anniversaries? You can bet, Pender County Tourism will be in the thick of the celebrations. It’s our county. Our town. Our nation. Our story.