Originally created 05/08/99

Character First! 050899 - The Augusta Chronicle



The importance of building character in our communities, as well as in our schools, has been amply demonstrated by the awful events like that in Littleton, Colo., as well as the daily degrading of our nation's once proud culture -- not just by gutter "entertainers" like Marilyn Manson, but also by the nation's highest elected leaders.

There are programs afoot, however, which seek to put communities on a better path. One is Character First. Yes, it sounds banal, but that's the cynic's view and cynicism is one of the wrongs this movement seeks to right.

This is why Augusta has joined Aiken in becoming a Character First community. Following approval by the Augusta Commission, Mayor Bob Young unveiled the campaign to 100 government, church and business leaders at a breakfast meeting Tuesday.

Character First, the mayor points out, is designed to teach, promote and recognize character traits like honesty and taking responsibility. It's a sad comment on our times that these fine traits -- once taken for granted across the nation -- now have to be re-emphasized for all too many of our citizens.

This newspaper is pleased to back Augusta and Aiken's Character First campaigns. We've got just one question: Wouldn't the president of the United States feel odd about endorsing this movement?