A crowd gathered on the Newton County Courthouse lawn near noon on Thursday, to participate in the 65th annual National Day of Prayer.

A crowd gathered on the Newton County Courthouse  lawn near noon on Thursday, to participate in the 65th annual National Day of Prayer.  
The event marked 31 years that it has been held  in Neosho and the thirtieth  local event for Mark Taylor, of KNEO Radio.  
"There was a guy who did this for one year before me," Taylor said. "Someone called me up the next year to see if I would organize it because no one else had so I did. This year marks 30 years that I've helped put this together."
Those present joined together in the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Roger Wilson of the local American Legion post, followed by the song America The Beautiful, with music provided by Barry and Julie Reel from the First Freewill Baptist Church in Neosho. Taylor took the opportunity to explain why two flags were displayed at the event, the American flag and a flag known as the Appeal to Heaven or Tree flag.  
"It's the first flag of the United States," Taylor said. "This flag dates to even before the thirteen colonies. It was carried during the American Revolution because early patriots believed their only hope was to appeal to heaven. This flag was present during the Boston Tea Party. It flew over six of the first Naval ships and over the vessels of the Massachusetts State Navy. It's more important than ever today with our present hopes for America."
Several area pastors and ministers offered prayers including Pastor Don McBride, Vida Abundante bilingual (Spanish and English) church in Neosho, Jeremie Bridges, The Canopy, John St. Clair, Racine Christian Church, and Pastor Danny Taylor, Bible Holiness Church.  Reverend Bill Doubek, First Lutheran Church, offered a special prayer for all those affected by the recent flooding, for our city and for our community.
Pastor Danny Taylor anointed Neosho Mayor Ben Baker with oil and prayers, seeking blessings, wisdom and guidance in his office.  
"It's a first for Neosho," Mark Taylor said. "It's unique but it is Biblical."
St. Clair led a prayer for all law enforcement officers in what was termed a time of great unrest and evil. He also asked for more of God's spirit to move across the nation. All elected officials who were present also came forward for special prayers.
The National Day of Prayer has been held on the first Thursday of May each year since 1952.  Three events were held  Thursday on the Newton County Courthouse lawn, at 7 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 7 p.m.
"We wanted to give people several times so they could work one into their schedule," Taylor noted.  
After the last prayer event of the day, participants were invited to enjoy refreshments and fellowship at The Canopy, on South Washington Street in Neosho.