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ORIENT, SOUTH DAKOTA
(Senate - June 26, 2012)

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[Page S4634]
                          ORIENT, SOUTH DAKOTA


 Mr. JOHNSON of South Dakota. Mr. President, today I wish to 
pay tribute to the 125th anniversary of the founding of Orient, SD. 
Orient is a warm and tight knit community, and residents are proud of 
their town's legacy of accomplishment. The people of Orient will be 
celebrating the quasquicentennial anniversary of their community on the 
weekend of July 6-8.
  Orient was founded when a small group of Civil War veterans moved 
westward in hopes of establishing their own town in the Dakota 
Territory. Having fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, they originally 
hoped to name their new home Gettysburg, but soon realized that a town 
by that name was located less than three miles east. Although the exact 
origins of the name Orient are unknown, it is believed that Donald 
McKary and L. J. Jones decided on the final name for the nascent town. 
Orient was officially recognized as a town on October 3, 1887.
  Orient flourished as a result of the railroad that ran through the 
town at the time of its founding. In its first years as a small, 
vibrant community, it rightfully earned the nickname, ``The Metropolis 
of the Great Ree Valley.'' Early Orient was home to its own literary 
society, singing school, attorney, drug store, and many other small 
businesses, including the town newspaper, ``The Weekly Pioneer.'' The 
hardy community weathered many challenges, including fires, tornadoes, 
and some of the most severe blizzards in American history, but through 
these obstacles, Orient remained optimistic and determined.
  Residents of Orient plan to commemorate their town's anniversary with 
a weekend of events, including a school reunion, parade, softball 
tournament, and dance. The celebration will also include digging up the 
1987 Time Capsule, buried on the centennial anniversary of Orient's 
founding, as well as a reflection of ``Life in Orient,'' which will 
bring together residents of the town from 25, 50, and 75 years ago.
  Orient was founded by a coalition of veterans, dreaming of a friendly 
and energetic community they could call home. To this day, that legacy 
lives on, and towns like Orient represent the foundation of South 
Dakota, embodying the values our State holds dear. I am proud to 
congratulate the people of Orient on reaching this historic 
milestone.


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