Thumbs up to everyone who was involved in making the 2016 Veterans Day ceremony Friday at the Florence Veterans Park an extraordinary event. A impressively large crowd gathered to hear songs that were sung well by the Crusaders Choir of All Saints Episcopal Day School and then listen to speakers, including a moving speech by Brig. Gen. Viet X. Luong, chief of staff of U.S. Army Central. He brought many people to tears with tributes to fallen comrades. New and old monuments were unveiled as the eight-year-old park just keeps getting better and better. The new U.S. Army Monument is spectacular. Thirty-six names were added to the Wall of Honor. What a wonderful day in a wonderful community that appreciates its veterans.

Thumbs up to the winners and losers in the 2016 General Election, particularly those on the local, regional and state levels. Thanks for running. Thanks for caring and wanting to serve the public. All of the talk since Tuesday has been about President-elect Donald Trump. Was his triumph really that surprising? The polls were wrong, but more of the polls just before the election showed that a Trump victory was within the margin of error. The news media have been bashed for getting it wrong; some members of the news media have even been bashing themselves, but all they did was report the results of polls that some news organizations might have sponsored but didn’t conduct. Shame on some news organizations that admittedly lost objectivity and set out to undermine Trump. The truth is that Trump never could have won without all of the attention he received from the news media. Our spin: The FBI influenced this election down the stretch, but we suspect the biggest difference were the Bernie Sanders supporters who liked Trump more than Hillary Clinton. If anything was rigged, it was the Democratic primary. Even though Clinton won the popular vote this week, Trump won fair and square in the Electoral College. The bottom line: The people have spoken. They want change, just like they did eight years ago. Who knows what’s ahead? Let’s get over the past and focus on the present and future as we give our new president a chance to make a great nation better.

Thumbs up to David Alford, his staff, the Voter Registration and Election Commission and all of the poll workers for well-run voting precincts! That comes from Gary Finklea of Florence, who wrote, “Also ‘Thumbs up’ to all the candidates, even those who didn't prevail for offering themselves to public service and the time, effort and expense put in their campaign.”

A big thumbs up to South Florence senior football player Charles Spears, wrote Marilynn Belk of Florence. “He approached the principal and athletic director with the idea of a challenge project that would benefit the community during rivalry week with West Florence recently,” Belk wrote. “Help 4 Kids was chosen as the beneficiary of the challenge. During the week leading up to the game, the two schools collected 2,650 can of Vienna sausage. Prior to the start of the game, officials from Help 4 Kids presented South Florence with a certificate naming the Bruins as the winner of the challenge, but the real winner was Help 4 Kids. Thanks, #52, Charles Spears for showing us the true meaning of rivalry.”

Thumbs up to Wayne W. Durham of Macon, Georgia, for sharing a story that deserves a thumbs up. “I am writing this letter to the citizens that call Florence, S.C., their home,” he wrote. “They need to be made aware of two individuals that represented their community in the kindest of ways, to a total stranger, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. I am 70 years old and was driving from Macon, Ga., to Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. on the Sunday after Hurricane Matthew. I pulled off Interstate 95 into Florence to get gas. I was unaware that your city had been devastated by Matthew and that there was very little power. I pulled into a service station that was closed because I had zero mileage range in my tank. As I sat there contemplating finding a hotel, two gentlemen, Jon Hall and Tom Groome, pulled in and were searching for gas. We struck up a conversation and they said that they lived in Florence and were going to find gas somewhere. They told me to sit tight and they would return with gas for my car. Around two to 2½ hours later these two individuals returned with gas. They would not take payment nor give me their addresses or phone numbers. They just said to pay it forward. I would like the citizens of Florence to know that these two men, having troubles of their own, took on my troubles and helped out their fellow man. Calling them ‘Neighbor’ or ‘Good Samaritan’ should make everyone proud. I have paid this forward and will continue to do so in the names of Jon Hall and Tom Groome, and I urge their friends and ‘neighbors’ to do the same.”

Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.

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