Thumbs up to the grandest gift this community has given itself in a very long time: the new Emergency Department at WCA Hospital. Tomorrow is your last chance to tour the amazing 18,000-square-foot new emergency room before it opens for business. A formal program will begin at 12:30, with the open house beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday. And take your kids - along with their favorite stuffed toy for the teddy bear clinic and other fun activities.
We reach the autumnal equinox at 10:49 EDT this morning - a mark on the calendar that, yes, is more symbolic than it is a dramatic demarcation between summer and fall. It is the moment at which the northern and southern hemispheres are neither tilted away from nor toward the sun. The earth, in essence, is in balance and from our point of view the sun is directly over the equator.
From here until deep into December, the effect of the earth's axis will force the northern hemisphere to tilt further and further away from the sun - the days will shorten, temperatures will fall as the sun's rays hit us at more of a glancing angle, winter will come.
And so we take this occasion, first to give a thumbs up to the grand variety of seasons in these parts and, second, to give a nod to one of the niftiest-sounding words in the English language: autumnal. As do the seasons, this elegant word even has its own cadence.
Mention of autumn reminds us that this weekend is Fenton History Center's annual Civil War encampment. This year, the re-enactors are commemorating Camp Brown, which served as a boot camp for the local regiments. Re-enactors are from New York's 9th Cavalry and 155th Infantry Volunteers.
If we read the history of camp correctly, some 2,100 men recruited from Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties to form the 112th and the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry regiments, and the 7th New York Sharpshooters were in camp in late summer 1862 to be drilled into fighting units. They started leaving in September when the 112th and the New York 7th were sent to Washington.
And so it was exactly this time of year 150 years ago that thousands of families across our region were saying goodbye to their men - some of them boys, really - as they were given a grand sendoff from Camp Brown in Jamestown.
Too many of them were saying goodbye for the last time - but of course not knowing they were heading out to meet their fates in some of the bloodiest battles of our Civil War.
Thumbs up to everyone involved in this commemoration of the sacrifices we must never forget.
You are invited to visit the re-enactors at their encampment in Fenton Park at the Fenton History Center. They will be on hand 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Sunday to explain their equipment and uniforms with drilling and shooting demonstrations on the hour beginning at 10:30 a.m. The re-enactors will also talk about life in camp at 2 p.m. The event is free.