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Salute to our armed forces

Posted: April 20, 2017 1:14 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2017 1:00 a.m.

As Americans, we have several opportunities to celebrate the military members who stand and defend our great nation every day.  Memorial Day.  Armed Forces Day. Veterans Day.  But, none are better than having the opportunity to celebrate with our military members on a local level.  Camden is so fortunate to have active duty military members, veterans, aspiring military members and retired military members living in the community.  And, Camden is fortunate to have Ft. Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base and Joint Base McEntire in such close proximity, as well as Camden Military Academy.

Having been a guest speaker at a luncheon at Ft. Jackson recently, I met many of the leaders and engaged with soldiers who are making a difference. The primary focus of Ft. Jackson is basic training and  advanced individual training. On a routine basis, families and friends of the soldiers graduating from the training programs stay, dine and shop with our businesses. The economic impact of Ft. Jackson has far reach in South Carolina and into Camden.  

As the mayor, I am pleased to participate in the Shaw Air Force Base Honorary Commander Program.  In early March, 14 civilian leaders were inducted into this community relations program.  I am the 20th Fighter Wing Honorary Vice Commander.  The program is designed to introduce the civilian honorary commanders to the operations and life of the base.  It is a two-way communication between the daily commanders and the honorary commanders which allows us to understand the local community needs of the Air Force. In addition, it allows Camden to become a preferred place for military members to live and to play.

During Carolina Cup weekend, local attorney and South Carolina State Guard Commander Tom Mullikin hosted two Medal of Honor recipients in Camden. Major General James Livingston of Mt. Pleasant and Lieutenant Michael Thornton, a native of Greenville, toured and discussed the Revolutionary War history of Camden.  Once in a while, I hear or read of someone bemoaning something to do in Camden.  First, I recommend a visit to the Revolutionary War points of interest in and around Camden.  Second, I recommend visiting the grave sites of the three Medal of Honor recipients resting in Quaker Cemetery.

Most recently, several local citizens witnessed a full dress parade in honor of our new South Carolina Governor, the Honorable Henry McMaster, at Camden Military Academy.  For many of us, it was a grand treat to witness and learn about the pass in review.   This long-standing military tradition is a way for leaders to inspect the troops.  The Cadets of Camden Military Academy were most impressive.  The parades at Camden Military Academy are open for public review, and I strongly recommend you seize the moment to attend the next one.

Just as you have many opportunities to celebrate the military members who serve our great nation, you can actively participate in many military-centric events right here in Camden -- several sponsored by our own American Legion.  I look forward to seeing you at the next one.

Likewise, in some very important local forums you can participate in the shaping of our community. Our Main Street program manager, Katharine Spadacenta, would enjoy hearing from you even if you missed the most recent public meetings.  Please engage to ensure our downtown meets your needs and is welcoming to all. 

And, as always, you are welcome to stop by Camden City Hall to share your thoughts and ideas. Your city council, the city staff and I like to know what is on your mind.

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