On Thursday, state and local elected officials and business and civic leaders from the Midlands came together in a show of unity like I have never witnessed. The closest thing I have experienced was the 1998 regional effort to build the Metropolitan Convention Center; we were told that wouldn’t happen because you could never bring both sides of the river together. But it did happen, and it remains one of the great examples of regional cooperation for the Midlands.
Thursday was all about Fort Jackson, which impacts the entire state, and it was evident that state and regional leaders recognize its importance for the well being of the state and region. The threat of losing significant numbers of personnel at Fort Jackson and of eventually losing the fort itself was the catalyst that brought everyone together. Let’s seize the moment and keep it alive. If this region can maintain the unity and cooperative spirit it showed on Thursday, there is absolutely nothing that we cannot accomplish.
The cooperative effort of the Midlands, with support from the state, may save Fort Jackson from a significant reduction. I believe the Army listening team was very impressed with our community support. I also believe the Army will seriously consider Fort Jackson as it makes decisions shaping the Army and missions for the future. The listening team experienced a community that genuinely loves the Army. And the Army wants to be where it is loved and appreciated.
The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce showed tremendous leadership, and all the local chambers supported its efforts. I encourage the Columbia Chamber to recognize its accomplishments and look for ways to build on the spirit of unity we all experienced on Thursday. There is great strength in being together and being one.
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The Midlands made an impression on the Army as a region working together. Imagine what can be accomplished in this region if we keep “Spirit and Unity of One” as our guidepost. There are no limits to what we can accomplish.
The river no longer divides: We now have bridges that connect.
Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army