The Lumberton City Council this week put its full weight behind a fledgling effort to honor Jeremiah Goodson by passing unanimously a resolution that Exit 22 bridge on Interstate 95 be named in his honor.
Goodson, everyone needs to remember, is the Lumberton police officer who was shot to death on July 17 while trying to make an arrest at a convenience store on Fayetteville Road, not far from where the bridge will be after substantial construction is done to improve the overpass.
Stig Larson, a Fayetteville police officer, asked the City Council to adopt a resolution supporting the naming of the bridge in Goodson’s honor. Sadly, there is precedent for doing so. On I-95 near Hope Mills, the N.C. 59 bridge is named in honor of Highway Patrol Sgt. Ed Lowry and Cumberland County sheriff’s Deputy David Hathcock, both of whom were murdered while on duty in September 1997.
Our understanding is that such a name change would also require a nod by the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, which only needs to be asked we are sure, and the state Department of Transportation, which we can’t imagine putting up a stop sign.
Community support is also needed, and Larson has posted a petition on line at http://www.ipetitions.com/widget/view/491885. On Thursday morning, when we first learned of the petition, there were just three signatures. After a story appeared in yesterday’s The Robesonian about the effort, the petition was up to 208 signatures by this morning. So it’s clear there is growing support.
We will throw ours behind it as well: Such an honor is appropriate considering the short distance between Exit 22 and where Goodson was gunned down in cold blood. Residents of Lumberton and Robeson County responded as one to Goodson’s murder, honoring the police officer and launching multiple efforts to make the lives of his widow and children less bumpy in his absence, at least financially.
But memories fade. While residents of this community who lived through this tragedy are unlikely to ever forget the sadness of it all, those who come after us need also to know of Goodson’s sacrifice.
A bridge on what is I-95 that flashes Jeremiah Goodson’s name will be a relentless reminder, not only for those of us who call Robeson County home, but those who travel what is often called the most-travelled highway in the United States. The memory of the heroism that Goodson displayed that day should not be eroded by time.