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Noted and passed - July 28, 2014

Posted: July 25, 2014 11:22 a.m.
Updated: July 28, 2014 5:00 a.m.

• Friday’s report that Amtrak is going to spend the next several months refurbishing Camden’s passenger rail station off West DeKalb Street is welcome news. Built in 1937, it has shown its age for decades and never more so than now with holes in the platform’s canopy, rotting timbers and other problems that make it a less than desirable place to stop. Amtrak says their No. 1 priority is making the facility Americans with Disabilities Act compliant -- and that’s a very good thing -- from the parking lot to the station and onto the platform and train. But representatives speaking before Camden City Council a week ago also recognized the value of restoring the station to its 77-year-old beauty. Camden’s station isn’t large or fancy, but historically was the gateway to the city and county. It served as a “welcome center” of sorts to military personnel, including those learning to fly at the Southern Aviation School; northern visitors during the latter part of the Hotel Era; and family members of Camden and Kershaw County residents from near and far. And even with its middle-of-the-night scheduled stops, it can still serve as the place from which our citizens dreaming of other places may reach them. So, thanks, Amtrak -- it’s about time. We can’t wait to see our old station returned to its former glory.

• Today is July 28. Oct. 2 is more than two months away, but that doesn’t leave us any less excited about the return of the Carolina Downhome Blues Festival for its 18th year. The lineup featured in Friday’s Localife likely left Blues fans salivating for opening night of the three-day event. We’re especially intrigued by the Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry story -- the son of a sharecropper/moonshiner who grew up to record gospel and then the Blues, retired, and then joined up with his family to keep on playing again. His performance and the others scheduled are sure to keep toes tapping and throats humming that first weekend in October.

• Frank Buckles died in February at the age 110. Born on a Missouri farm, he lived his last years near Charles Town, W. Va. Buckles was the last living U.S. World War I veteran. He also served in World War II and was captured and held by the Japanese for three and a half years. As such, he was also one of the approximately one a half million living veterans of the second world war. But, as we the media often points out, those numbers are dwindling fast. A week ago, Kershaw County lost one such member, 92-year-old Bill Major, a lieutenant who -- according to stories he told his son, Rusty -- flew B-29 bombers over Tokyo and participated in the two actions that ended the war: the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We are forever grateful for Major and Buckles’ service and are saddened that, one day, we will have to report on the passing of the last of our nation’s “Greatest Generation.”


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