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Our cups runneth over

When this newspaper published its first edition in 1867 the Civil War had ended but its worst battles and consequences were still fresh on local minds. Though the Union Army prevailed, there were really no winners. Just about every American family, regardless of geography or loyalty, could claim a killed or wounded soldier. Some claimed several. Some lost generations. Founded in this time of upheaval and heartbreak, your newspaper covered the individual tragedies and collective tragedy of that war. It published casualty lists and obituaries for those with local ties who fell ‘“many of them buried forever in unmarked graves far from home. More conflict followed. Two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and, most recently, the vast conflicts in the Middle East from which we as a nation cannot seem to extract ourselves. Each has brought with it more and longer lists of the dead and maimed. These were reported with tears blended with printer’s ink. There have been times of trouble not associated with war. At times they seem predominant, endless: floods, tornados, horrific accidents, sickness, tragic deaths, business failures, crimes ‘“ solved and unsolved and countless others. The staffs at your newspaper have always reported these things. They never enjoyed it. The feeling is, and always has been, that hard times are easier to endure when faced with facts not rumors. Withholding information is very rarely beneficial to anyone in any situation. Providing accurate information is. For every such story like these, there are, of course, dozens of accounts of good news and positive developments. Grand openings, marriages, births, battlefield victories, homecomings, industrial recruitment successes, volunteer efforts, 100th birthdays, graduations, sports triumphs, athletic accomplishments, dean’s lists, honor rolls; the litany is endless. These, too, have been reported and reported gleefully and with hidden smiles embedded in the newsprint. That is life, really. The vast majority of us enjoy blessed existences punctuated with periods of loss and sorrow. The life of a community is the same. There are highs and lows. We have always viewed ourselves as a mirror in which the community could view its reflection, decide if it liked what it saw or not and act accordingly. At times, that stance led to ruffled feathers. Most, thankfully, didn’t stay ruffled long. Though, like every other community, it has it flaws and faults, Barnesville-Lamar County is a very special place ‘“ an extraordinary place. It has been blessed through the entirety of its existence with Gordon which has brought educated people, opportunity, a consistent, reliable payroll and higher education here. Historically, the folks in this place have been workers. The vast majority earned their keep, spent their money with local businesses and spread the wealth. These people adapted. Buggy builders became furniture manufacturers. Textile workers moved on to other careers when that industry faltered. Those who had work took care of those who did not or could not. No one in government had to mandate that. You just did it. We just did it. Barnesville-Lamar County cares and that is what makes this place stand out from all the rest. People here care for one another. They care for the community as a whole. They always have. They always will. It has been an honor and a privilege to help hold up that mirror to this community for the past 38 years. There have been bad times. There have been good times. At this time of Thanksgiving, I am ever so grateful for that opportunity. This is a special place. You are special people. Our cups runneth over. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

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