Meigs Middle School Celebrates Freedom with Freedom Shrine

Meigs Middle School and the Emerald Coast Chapter of the National Exchange Club recently dedicated the Freedom Shrine that adorns the wall of the school’s cafeteria.

The Freedom Shrine is a collection of 32 historic United States documents (1600's to 1900's) which serve as windows to America's proud past.  According to the Freedom Shrine website, the shrine originated from the Freedom Train which toured the nation in 1947 carrying an exhibit of famous "documents of liberty" such as the United States Constitution and Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  The tour gave Americans the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of American citizenship.  The documents included were carefully chosen to exemplify the beginnings of our nation and the subsequent important United States turning points.

“I am so excited to have a Freedom Shrine at Meigs Middle School,” said Principal Dr. Lee Hale.  “It is important for our students to understand and appreciate our American history and this shrine provides an opportunity for them to do just that... right here on our very own campus.  Our teachers are already using this shrine as a destination for on-campus field trips.  It is an extremely valuable resource for both our Civics and U.S. History classes.”

The Meigs Middle School AFJROTC Prep Club opened the ceremony with the Posting of the Colors and the Meigs Select Chorus sang the National Anthem.  Jane Hudspeth’s 8th Grade T.A.G. U.S. History Class treated the audience to a dramatic historical presentation.

“I think the students from Mrs. Hudspeth’s class did an exceptional job of setting the tone for this event,” said Dr. Hale.  “I was very proud of them and I know Mrs. Hudspeth was too.”

The Freedom Shrine is an exclusive project of the National Exchange Club, a group of people working together to make communities a better places to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, and Youth Activities. The Freedom Shrine is one of the many service programs they offer.

This project would not have been possible, however, without the help from the following community sponsors: Beach Community Mortgage, Chem-Dry by the Emerald Coast, ERA American Realty, and Old South Land Title. 

“I am extremely grateful to the local businesses that contributed and to the Emerald Coast Chapter of the National Exchange Club for this most treasured gift,” said Hale.

The Shrine’s mural artists, Audrey Halter and Susan Halter, were tasked by Dr. Hale to come up with something uniquely American and uniquely Meigs.  Their design features three U.S. Air Force jets rising out of an American flag that gracefully fades into the new Wildcat logo.

Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson was the guest speaker for the ceremony.

“As you walk past this beautiful shrine, remember this, the people who contributed to this were once your age,” Superintendent Jackson told the students.  “Somewhere along the line they made a decision to serve their country. Be strong. Stand up for what is right. Do good to others. Love your country. Love is a verb and means an action.  It is something you do for your country.   If it is reach down and help somebody get up, if you see someone taking advantage of someone else you step up, and you remember that every time you do that you are making your nation stronger because you are contributing to the goodness that is in the country.”

Jackson thanked the Exchange Club for their amazing gift to the school.

“I think that it is beautiful and the artist interpretation of what the background should be is perfect,” said Superintendent Jackson.

To see a map of the Meigs Freedom Shrine, click here.

To see the Celebration Program, click here.

For more information on The Freedom Shrine, visit