Editor's note: This column was written for the Oct. 15, 1994, edition as the newspaper marked its 100th anniversary of serving the Sumter community.
Today marks a milestone in the history of The Item. Observing a 100th birthday as South Carolina's oldest family owned newspaper and Sumter's oldest business brings forth a great deal of pride and satisfaction. It also brings with it a stronger sense of appreciation and admiration for those who fought the good fight, stayed the course and kept the faith during the past century.
Without the vision and determination of founder Hubert Graham Osteen and his son, my father Hubert D. Osteen, The Item would never have survived the peaks and valleys of small-town daily journalism. Neither would we have even gotten off the ground without the support of H.G.'s father, Noah Graham Osteen, back in 1894. Nor would The Item have survived as a local enterprise without the loyalty and dedication of exceptionally able men and women who worked for this newspaper and their community starting in the last century and continuing into the present. Their contributions brought great honor and distinction to this newspaper - they won't be forgotten.
The most sincere thanks should go to our readers, who've stuck with us, who've appreciated what we've written and cajoled us when what we wrote and printed was displeasing to them. Without fully engaged - and yes, critical - readers, we would soon degenerate into a journal of smugness and self-satisfaction.
In addition, our appreciation goes to the advertisers who've invested in our pages throughout the years. I would hope they've received full value from their hard-earned dollars by using The Item as the conduit for their messages and will continue to thrive in our growing economy.
As The Item embarks on its second century, we commemorate the first with today's centennial edition. It is the handiwork of a member of the fifth generation of Osteens to leave his mark on The Item - Graham Osteen. His brother, Kyle, also participated by coordinating the advertising for the centennial. My thanks to both as well as to all the fine people at The Item who've helped cut the birthday cake marking our first century. Our past is only a prologue to the future.
We look forward to the challenges and opportunities awaiting us in the 21st century. We pledge to our readers that we will strive to keep them informed, enlightened, entertained and occasionally agitated while telling the story of our lives for the next 100 years. Thanks for reading The Item.
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