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Pearl Painter, 99, of Jacksonville dies

Pearl Painter, 99, of of Jacksonville died August 26, 2011 surrounded by family. She was born in Painter, AL on October 9, 1911 and touched many lives by her sweet spirit, smile and contagious personality.

Mrs. Painter was a member of First Coast Christian Center and was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Arthur Painter; son Charles Painter; grandchild Stanley Nickhah.

Survivors include children Jackie Painter, Joan Painter (Larry) King, Pat Painter (Ron) Lowder, Paul (Kim) Painter of Jacksonville, Bonita Painter (John) Higgs of Glen St. Mary, Anthony (Edwina)Painter of Keystone Heights; sister Lois Evans of Albertville, AL; 17 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, three great-great grand­­­children; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The funeral service was held August 31 at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home in Jacksonville. Internment followed at Evergreen Cemetery.

Arlie Combs Jr., 49, of Macclenny

Arlie Windol Combs Jr., 49, of Macclenny died Sunday, September 4 at the VA Medical Center in Lake City following an extended illness. Mr. Combs was born in Jacksonville and lived most of his life in Duval County before moving back to Macclenny three years ago. He was a self-employed plumber and carpenter for most of his life and a member of Wesconnett United Methodist Church of Jacksonville.

Survivors include daughter C. Brandice (Steven) Etheridge of Statesboro, AR; father Arlie Windol Combs Sr of Macclenny; mother Nancy Anderson of Maxville; grandmother Evelyn Combs of Macclenny; brother Darren (Debbie) Combs of Jacksonville; step-sisters Debra McCall of Jacksonville and Lisa Anderson of Jacksonville Beach; grandchild Jonathan Etheridge.

A graveside funeral service will be held Friday, September 9 at 1:00 pm at the Jacksonville  National Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 pm Thursday, September 8 at Guerry Funeral Home in Macclenny.

The renaissance of Ground Zero

The surviving Double Check statue.The massive construction site that is Ground Zero has been shrouded from the public view for some time as workers rebuild the World Trade Center.

But a fascinating program series produced by Stephen Spielberg called Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero has given viewers an inside look at the work being done to reclaim and renew the site of the greatest terrorist disaster the United States has ever known.

Two perfect square recessions, each an acre in size and descending 30 feet below the surface of the earth mark the location where the Twin Towers once stood.

Referred to as “the footprints,” each granite-lined cavity has begun to murmur with the constant rush of flowing water, making them the largest man-made waterfalls in the world.

The waterfalls are the centerpiece of what will be Memorial Plaza. When the plaza officially opens on September 12, visitors will see bronze panels that surround the falls containing the names of employees, firemen, policemen and visitors who were present when the Twin Towers came down.

They will see names of passengers and crew of American Airlines flight 277 which crashed into the Pentagon, the names of passengers and crew on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the six people who lost their lives when the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993.

Hundreds of swamp white oaks will surround the waterfalls creating a tranquil green space for visitors and the employees who will eventually again inhabit Freedom Tower and other buildings still under construction.

On a recent evening I stood outside of Ground Zero where even at night, scores of people work amid the whir and clank and grind of massive machinery, determined to bring the World Trade Center back from the grave.

 

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Things we haven’t learned since 9/11

Anybody see the interview Sunday evening with former President Bush (2) on National Geographic Channel? The subject was 9/11 and he spent an hour reflecting on what that day was like for him.

It didn’t break a lot of new ground, but the ex-prez has some thoughtful recollections on what must be the most memorable day of his life. He did a good job — and not a Teleprompter in sight.

We’ll be bombarded the next week with “anniversary” telecasts, panels and, yes, newspaper columns on the decade mark of that fateful day. I’ve never met anyone over the age of 15 at the time who doesn’t remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news. Don’t believe I ever will.

The Bush interview prompted (not teleprompted) me to ruminate on what we have learned since September 11, 2001. Many of us believed in the days following the attack that something good would come out of all that death and destruction. The nation — indeed all the nations of the world that value freedom over barbarism — would have a unity of purpose that in the end will magnify the best.

We didn’t do that so much, did we?

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