Towns homecoming should be galvanizing

The Town of Ocean View will celebrate its annual Homecoming event this weekend, with a huge helping hand from the Ocean View Historical Society. The event started in the early 20th century as a way of bringing back home people who had moved away from the town, and to instill a general sense of pride in the town.

As our reporter Maria Counts explains in her story this week, the Homecoming was stopped during World War II as the rationing of gasoline made it difficult for people to travel. There was a lull in the event until the bicentennial year of 1976, and then another break until the town’s centennial celebration in 1989, before it was brought back last year.

This year’s celebration comes at a needed time for the town. There has been plenty of acrimony amongst town officials and residents over the past several years, and the recent election was filled with emotions. There appears to be a good working relationship between the current town council, which we all hope will result in positive steps for the entire town as they move forward, but there are still some negative feelings lingering throughout the town.

Let’s put it to rest at the Homecoming event.

There are always going to be disagreements on how to run the town, and we feel that’s a good thing. There should be widely-differing opinions and each person, council member or resident, should have the right to voice dissatisfaction or disagreement when any issue comes across the board. However, it should be done in a manner that benefits the town, and not in a way that shows itself in personal attacks or defamations of character.

We’ve banged this drum over and over again in recent years, but it’s important to note: A town is only as healthy as the people who call it home.

We recently received a copy of the speech made by Jeanette Betts during the 1989 Homecoming in Ocean View. It was filled with memories of the town from the past and a few hopes for its future. We believe it’s especially poignant to revisit her thoughts today, particularly regarding the three hopes she expressed for the town’s future.

Her first hope was that the Homecoming event remained an annual event, and it appears the town is indeed looking to do just that. Her second was that Ocean View “would remain an active, friendly, patriotic town — and also, be an example town, looked up to by others.”

Not so much on the second one at this point, but we’re all hopeful that the town is heading in that direction.

Her third hope for the future of the town was that those with roots in the town will remain attached to it, and those who have moved here will one day stand with their heads held high and say, “I’m proud of Ocean View, and I’m proud of the part, no matter how meager, I’ve played in its existence.”

That last one can be a hope for every town — not only in this community, but any other across the globe. Civic pride is something we should all hold dear, and hopefully her words will inspire that feeling through all of us.

Have a great Homecoming, Ocean View.