At times it seems what we West Virginians and East Ohioans think of as traditional values have been abandoned by many of our fellow Americans. But those values - including hard work, patriotism, firm dedication to individual liberties and a "do unto others" morality - still motivate most people in our area.
Today, we at The Intelligencer celebrate our 160th birthday. It was on Aug. 24, 1852 that our first edition was published. In it, the newspaper's policy was set out: "All that the people require in order to arrive at proper conclusions is light and information."
For 160 years, while enormous changes have occurred in our valley and the world around us, we have remained firm in that standard of service. It has been our mission to provide the information our readers need and to use our editorial pages to shine light where it is needed.
Our readers have many ways of obtaining information that did not exist when The Intelligencer was young. Our newspaper today is complemented by an electronic version, for example.
But the news report produced daily by The Intelligencer remains unparalleled as a source of information about matters of importance and interest to our readers. More resources go into it than those devoted by all our competitors combined.
Our editorial pages remain sources of strong leadership, shining light on concerns and focusing on solutions that serve the people of our area and reflect their allegiance to traditional values. We serve our readers, not individual politicians or political parties.
We do that because this is not just a "market" to us, as some in the communications industry view the Ohio Valley.
We, too, live, work and raise children in the Ohio Valley. This is our home, too - worth serving and, when necessary, defending.
Not everyone shares our dedication to this region and to the traditional values. In fact, much of what we here in the Ohio Valley view as good is under attack from outside. Our morals are viewed as outmoded. Our work ethic is seen as foolish. Our patriotism is condemned as narrow-minded. And our concern about individual liberties is criticized as unrealistic and, in some ways, selfish.
Yet it was those values that made America great, that led to creation of the state of West Virginia, that brought prosperity to the Ohio Valley - and that made local communities wonderful places to live and raise families.
We are proud, then, to have provided information and shed light for 160 years, in defense of traditional values. Today, we hope you will join us in wishing ourselves "Happy Birthday" and many more years of service.