The Charlotte News
Thursday, August 18, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Panmunjom, Korea, that Communist anti-aircraft guns the previous day had shot down a small unarmed American training plane and that the U.N. Command this date had said that the plane had "inadvertently intruded" over the demilitarized zone but not into North Korean territory. Later, the Air Force had announced that a C-47 transport plane, searching near the demilitarized zone for the missing trainer, had been fired upon during the morning and that one small slug had hit the left wing but that the plane was otherwise unharmed. Maj. General Harlan Parks, senior allied member of the Military Armistice Commission, had accused the Communists of "wanton barbarism" in pouring "continuous murderous and devastating ground fire" at the plane until it had crashed, out of control, in Communist territory. He said that the plane carried only a pilot and a military passenger on a routine training flight. There was no information on whether the two had survived the crash and their names had been withheld by the Air Force. General Parks demanded that the Communists immediately return the two men. An Air Force search had failed to find any trace of the trainer plane or its passengers. The General said it was the tenth officially recorded incident of Communist ground fire having been directed against unarmed craft during the prior ten months. He contrasted that with fifty-three incidents in which Communist aircraft had allegedly intruded on allied territory south of the demarcation line established by the Armistice in 1953, and in which allied anti-aircraft gunners had withheld their fire.
Hurricane Diane, which had hit the coastal portion of the state at Wilmington the previous day and then proceeded on a line northwest of Raleigh into Virginia, had disappeared into the north this date, but had left behind flood conditions in many areas of the northeastern part of the state. Business establishments of a large section of Elizabeth City fronting on the Pasquotank River remained under several inches of water during the morning, despite the waters having receded by more than a foot during the night. In some stores the previous day along six blocks fronting the river, there were 18 inches of water, but the floodwaters had failed to reach the main business district. About 100 residences had been damaged by high water in the town and families in several sections had been evacuated to emergency shelters the previous night. Diane had packed less force than generally anticipated by the time it hit the state, its once 115 mph center winds during its trek up the Atlantic from the Caribbean, having dissipated considerably to around 75 mph when it hit Wilmington, while still retaining gusts up to 100 mph. It had gradually lost power as it moved north-northwest across the state into Virginia. The principal damage was from overflowing rivers and torrential rain, and the two storms combined, with Hurricane Connie of the previous week, had done much more crop damage than had Hurricane Hazel of the prior mid-October, though overall damage was much less.
In Raleigh, Governor Luther Hodges said that North Carolinians had to think of a long-range plan to protect the coast against destruction by hurricanes, his remarks coming in the wake of hearing State officials report on the effects of Hurricane Diane, following in the wake of Hurricane Connie hitting the same area. He said that the builders along the coastal area had to think about erecting hurricane-proof buildings. The Governor later wired the President, seeking a million dollars in disaster relief funds for public facilities damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Connie and for damage done also by Diane, though not asking for an increase in the allocation based on the latter hurricane. He could do so later. No estimates had yet been made of the total damage done by Diane to public and private property, but indications were that it was much less than that caused by Connie. The Federal civil defense engineers said that it appeared "long-range damage" caused by Diane would be great, "although not as much as we feared." State Agriculture commissioner L. Y. Ballantine estimated initially that total crop damage approached 30 million dollars from both hurricanes, and that the figure might rise higher as further reports were received. The state civil defense director said that temporary sand dunes erected on the beaches prior to Diane had saved millions of dollars in property damage. The Third Army liaison officer told Governor Hodges that a task force of engineer-soldiers from Fort Bragg, with ten bulldozers and other equipment, had arrived at Kure Beach at around noon this date to help in the repair work there, while other equipment and men would be sent to Carolina Beach. The Army had supplied nineteen assault boats from Fort Bragg to Washington, N.C., the most severely flooded town in the area, to help in evacuation efforts there the previous afternoon. The chief State highway engineer said that the full effect of Diane on highways had not yet been felt, that flood conditions on all eastern North Carolina streams were expected to reach a peak later during the week. He said that highway forces would make every effort to restore road damage as rapidly as possible.
Heavy rains followed in the wake of Diane, and rivers across eastern North Carolina spilled over their banks this date, with the Weather Bureau stating that the Cape Fear, Tar, Neuse and Roanoke rivers were rising rapidly as a result of 3 to 4 inches of rain which had fallen generally over the eastern Piedmont and coastal plain area the previous day. It said that flood crests presently anticipated were not unusual and would likely not cause widespread damage, that farmers and other operations in low-lying areas were the only ones likely to be affected. The Cape Fear River had risen nearly ten feet in twenty-four hours and had reached 28.24 feet during the morning in Fayetteville, where flood stage was at 35 feet, with a flood crest anticipated at 40 feet on Friday. The Bureau said that the all-time record for the Cape Fear at Fayetteville had been set in a flood in 1945, when a depth of 68.9 feet had been recorded. At Elizabethtown, the Cape Fear had reached just over its 20-foot flood stage and was expected to crest at 30 feet on Saturday. The story also provides the present stages and predicted stages for the other three flooding rivers as well.
In Myrtle Beach, it was reported that South Carolina's coast had survived with hardly any damage from Diane the previous day, as Connie had also largely skipped the area the previous week. Governor George Bell Timmerman, Jr., however, planned to ask the President to declare Georgetown and Horry Counties disaster areas on the basis of beach erosion, following the Governor's survey of the Grand Strand the previous day, accompanied by military, state and local officials. He asked the Third Army for immediate help in constructing temporary sand dunes and other bulwarks to halt erosion from future storms.
Dick Young of The News reports that the possibility of additional children receiving the Salk polio vaccine had developed this date with the announcement that the inoculation program would be resumed on September 19. The City-County Health officer, Dr. M. B. Bethel, said that the national Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was providing the vaccine free of charge to first and second graders, had announced broadening of the free inoculation program beyond the previous school year's group of first and second graders, who had received the vaccine in the spring before the program was suspended because of the need to investigate the vaccine following several children nationwide having contracted polio after receiving the vaccine, with a few of them dying as a result. Dr. Bethel announced his intention to provide the vaccine to the current school year's first graders. Because of the limited amount of vaccine available, however, the first graders would be inoculated at schools chosen by lot. During the prior spring, of the 10,856 first and second graders eligible to receive the vaccine locally, 9,666 had received their shots before the program was suspended. When the program would be resumed on September 19 through September 23, those who had received only their first shot would receive their second shot.
In Oklahoma City, a 26-year old man accused of reckless driving proceeded to give a speech in Municipal Traffic Court, the likes of which the judge said he had never heard, the defendant saying: "I'm appalled at the reckless driving on Main Street. It sickens my heart. It makes me ashamed of my fellow man. I'm trying to do my part to help correct it." When asked by the judge why then he had been charged with reckless driving, he responded that it was because he had seen a teenage boy whom he knew, driving recklessly and he was trying to catch him so that he could take him some place and give him a quiet lecture on the principles of safe driving, that he had never before received a ticket in his life. The judge then whispered to his bailiff and shortly afterward, a file was brought into the courtroom, showing that the defendant had been arrested six times for traffic violations during recent weeks, the defendant admitting that it was his traffic record, the judge then ordering him to pay a twenty dollar fine.
In Philadelphia, a 20-year old man told another man that he could swim "the best" and that there was no argument about it, with the other man, 52, saying that was a laugh and that in any event, his grammar was lousy, as there were just two of them and so he should have said "the better". The argument had started the previous day at the hauling company garage where the two worked, with fellow employees having urged them to test their claims against one another in the Schuylkill River. On their way, according to police, the two men and a third driver, taken along for company and to serve as a referee, had devoured a supper at a café, then stopped at several taverns, before reaching the South Street Bridge. A dumbfounded spectator who was responsible for summoning ten police cars to the scene, had then described what occurred, saying that they had jumped right into water 30 feet from her location, with the older of the two swimmers having removed everything down to his underpants and the other one wearing overalls or dungarees, not having removed any clothing, the older having jumped 40 feet down into the water, followed by the younger man, who also dove head first, despite the witness having told him that he was crazy. She had observed them swimming downstream until she could not see them anymore in the darkness, concluding, "What crazy guys!" When the police caught up with the the two men along the riverbank, the younger man was wearing nothing but a look of dismay, as he had taken off his dungarees to help him swim faster, while the older man still had on his undershorts. It was established that the two had swum about three quarters of a mile to the bridge at University Avenue from the bridge at South Street and that both had reached the destination at practically the same time. Both men were taken before a magistrate on charges of disorderly conduct and fined $7.50 each. One of the policemen involved in the chase said that he had torn his pants trying to round up the two men, telling the court that it had cost him fourteen dollars to replace the pants, prompting the magistrate to order both defendants to pay that amount as well. Neither man had any money, but one of their friends among the spectators had stood up and said that he would pay the fourteen dollars and he did. The two men were then released.
In Tokyo, a crowd had gathered the previous night in a barbershop to check out the barber's new television set, which showed the Yomiuri baseball Giants trouncing the Osaka Tigers, until a fan of the Tigers decided to flip the channel to another station, prompting a fan of the Giants to knock the man out, whereupon seven other Giant fans and five other Tiger fans became involved in an imbroglio. A police van was summoned and all fourteen of the participants in the fight were taken down to the police station and charged with disturbing the peace. The barber was left alone to watch the Giants win the game 10 to 0 and right the overturned barber chairs and benches in his shop. This date, he returned his television set.
On the editorial page, "The Klan: Absurdity in a Nightshirt" indicates that the Klan had been a "hulking, amorphous foe of law and order in Dixie for years" but could never endure for long against "the unrelenting pressure of truth and justice." Despite that fact, Southern hoodlums periodically gave it new life until someone planted a burning cross on a hillside "and we're off on another senseless saturnalia."
It had occurred again in Texas, amid the legal maneuvering regarding the Brown v. Board of Education ban of segregation in the public schools. A few days earlier, Klan members had attacked a newsman in Florence, S.C., while State Attorney General of North Carolina William Rodman had stated that "North Carolina does not want the Klan or kindred organizations."
It indicates that the Klan had no place in North Carolina or anywhere else in the South, that no clandestine organization based on hatred and commitment to violence could help the region solve its race problems, but would only stir up trouble in its worst possible form. It advises that the original Klan had come into being after the Civil War as a political movement to restore the franchise to former Confederates and to wrest control of the South from carpetbaggers and scalawags, and that just before the last Yankee soldier had removed to the North in the 1870's, it had been disbanded after its mission had been accomplished. Another Klan organization had appeared in 1915—in the wake of the release of the D. W. Griffith racist film, "Birth of a Nation", based on the novels by Shelby, N.C., native Thomas Dixon, The Leopard's Spots and The Clansman—, fading away again after internal squabbles, public scandals and trouble with the Government regarding its payment of income taxes. But then it had a renascence after World War II, until in North Carolina, law enforcement officers and courageous editors, such as Willard Cole and W. Horace Carter, who had won Pulitzer Prizes for their efforts, had brought about its demise in the state.
It urges that the Klan could not be allowed to rear its ugly head again, in North Carolina or elsewhere, that there might be some deluded individuals who believed sincerely that it could perform some useful purpose, but that it could not. It finds that those same citizens were invariably victimized by organizers of the Klan who cynically used the organization for financial gain or by "restless, reckless and sadistic men and hot-eyed religious fanatics who thirst for drastic action."
It suggests that in any other setting, the "bedsheet brigade" would simply be funny. But the circumstances which produced the kind of native fascism in the South were very real and very serious and that the Klan was therefore not funny, but, in a way, was absurd.
Because the newspaper had supported the earlier speech of Governor Luther Hodges, exhorting parents to continue voluntary segregation of the public schools to avoid drastic measures which might include closure of the public schools by the Legislature, as a means of circumventing Brown, a speech which his old friend and classmate at UNC, playwright Paul Green, had criticized in an open letter to the Governor, as printed in the newspaper on August 11, the editorial does not mention another impact of the Klan resurrection, that being to provide to editors an Afghanistanism, that is a tool of escape from more pressing local issues by stressing the remote, enabling the editors to blink the fact that their vehement opposition to the Klan and its history of violence did not square with their "moderate" position on desegregation of the public schools, supportive of the state's rationalized efforts to circumvent Brown, while only giving steam to the most vehement of states' rights advocates among politicians in other states who were condemned by the newspaper for threatening the official closure of the public schools, who, in turn, in varying degrees, gave impetus to reformation of states' rights groups, which, inevitably, for all protestations to the contrary, included the violence of reactionary groups and organizations, of which the Klan and its "Invisible Empire" was only the most visible organization, amorphous though it was.
It only takes two people, bound up in an agreement to commit an unlawful act and an overt act toward its commission to form a legal conspiracy. It does not take an entire "Klan". Such would be the case ten days hence in Money, Miss., when two half-brothers would kill fourteen-year old Emmett Till for supposedly issuing a wolf-whistle and being fresh with the wife of one of the brothers, followed by their subsequent acquittal by an all-white jury about three weeks after the murder—a murder, with impunity, which, because of the age of the victim and the particular brutality of its infliction, would inspire Rosa Parks to initiate the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama the following December, refusing to surrender her forward seat on the municipal bus to a white passenger, resulting in her arrest, and serving as the springboard to national prominence of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose pastorate at the time was in Montgomery, and whose melodically poetic voice, familiarity with the Scriptures and ability to relate to many, both black and white, the inherent justice and fairness under the Constitution of treating all citizens with equality and dignity, would enable him to serve as the spiritual leader of the new civil rights movement for the ensuing twelve years until his assassination in Memphis, April 4, 1968.
The Klan was only the most incendiary, violence-prone end result of a long chain of events, starting with the Southern "moderate" who believed that "now" was never the time for real change in the South's system of apartheid, that as long as the region's black population remained docile and submissive, in time change would come through natural processes, though those natural processes under segregation had produced little noticeable change in the condition of the mass of blacks, either economically or politically, in 90 years by 1955, since the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction in the South—finally ended in 1876-77, with the controversial presidential election by a special 13-person commission appointed to resolve the disputed slates of electors submitted by four states in 1876, three from the South plus Oregon, producing, on the basis of which set of electors would be recognized, the electoral difference between the popular vote winner, Samuel Tilden of New York, the Democrat, and the Republican, Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, who eventually made an agreement with the three Southern states in question to win their electoral votes to end Reconstruction, which he did as President, after the commission had awarded, on a strictly partisan basis, the disputed slates of electors to him—revivification of which complex the Trumpies sought in 2020 after an election not in the least subject to any rational dispute, following the successful example of their contemporaries from the contested 2000 electoral result in Florida, deciding the Presidency nationally based on a little more than 500 heavily contested votes in that single state.
It would finally take a Southerner, Lyndon Johnson, coming to the Presidency in the wake of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, to produce the radical change necessary legislatively to begin to produce, following through with the domestic program boldly initiated to Congress by President Kennedy, in voting rights and in reaching the informal circumvention of desegregation in the South, in public accommodations and employment discrimination, a new era of recognition of that which Dr. King had placed on a plane of moral imperative for the society to reach identity with its Constitutional ideals set forth by the Founders and to begin to end the charade of hypocrisy and convoluted rationalizations which had beset the country since the Founding and had been conveniently ignored by those Southern "moderates" since the end of Reconstruction on the fine pretextual notion that if only the South would be "left alone" to work out its own solutions, locality by locality and state by state in response to local conditions of its black population in interface with its white population, why, sir, everything will be fine in time—and times and times to come, up yonder in the north of the celestial heavens in never-never land, as surely a fiction as the notion of "happy-happy land" of the Southern planters during slavery, with happy masters, happy overseers and happy slaves all working in concert for the betterment of all producing the cotton for the Northern textile mills to make missy a brand new dress and master a brand new executive suit in their absentee ownership of many of the largest of those plantations, all carried over into modern times after the Civil War, only without enforced slavery, though economically coerced in many areas to render virtually the same effect, inclusive of poor whites who were subject to being manipulated by the community leaders to keep their "inferiors", the only social rung of the ladder left below them to which they could possibly aspire for any superiority socially, in line, ready to step and fetch it likes good lil chilluns all, ready to receive massa's blessings aplenty in the mill town milieu.
"Music, Indeed, Is Everywhere" indicates that under the "Who Must File" heading of the latest 1040 tax advice was the explanation that it was every citizen or resident of the country, whether adult or minor, who had $600 or more in gross income, or $1,200 if over 65.
It notes that Avery Claflin, a
retired banker from Brooklyn, had written a song, "Lament for
It hopes that the song would not be
added to jukeboxes, or suggests that perhaps justice would be better
served if it made the hit parade and made Mr. Claflin a million
dollars in royalties, such that when April came around, his
determination of who had to file, "would clank with a most
"Scaredy-Cat" indicates that after driving the vegetarians away from the innocent cabbage and carrots the previous day, Robert C. Ruark today had attacked cats in his column, leaning on the felines "with all the weight his typewriter can muster." It notes that he was writing the piece from Spain, a fact which spoke poorly for his reputation as a sportsman, and suggests that when next he visited his home state of North Carolina, his location would be pinpointed "for the benefit of persons wishing to test his mettle."
"Soon a Rain Summer
Don't quit your day job.
A piece from the Florida Times-Union, titled "Freedom in Haircuts", indicates that in Miami Beach, a long-haired pair, bedeviled by four high school boys for their "sissy" haircuts, had taught youngsters some tricks in the manly art of self-defense, as they turned out to be professional wrestlers. Meanwhile in New York, vindication had come to an employee discharged because he would not shave off his Van Dyke beard, with unemployment compensation officials ruling on appeal in his favor that he was entitled to payments on the ground that "an individual in a free community [could] present such an appearance as he wished so long as it did not affect his duties adversely and did not tend to injure the employer in its business or reputation."
The piece indicates that the right to wear one's hair long and to wear a beard were thus reestablished, in the one instance by physical force and in the other by legal action. It finds that some of the freedom of frontier days might be reasserting itself in the country, probably under the influence of the long-haired version of Davy Crockett. But it questions whether American wives had yet been convinced. It wonders whether it should dare conclude that the land of the free was once again the land of nonconformity. "Long hair and Van Dyke beards may not be pleasing to us all, and the right is certainly reserved not to like the way an individualist decides to part his hair. But at least the new trend offers relief in a nation of sedately trimmed gentlemen and countless youthful Davy Crewcuts."
Drew Pearson again looks at the "fourth branch of government", the lobbyists, indicating that just before the adjournment of the 1955 session of Congress, it had rushed through a bill permitting the District of Columbia government to seize the Capital Transit Co. and operate its buses and streetcars for the benefit of the public, to avoid its frequent strikes. The most recent strike had one of the most crippling effects on the nation's capital in years and yet the owner of the company, a shipyard operator in Florida who had been seeking to acquire Montgomery Ward, had literally thumbed his nose at the people of Washington. The Republican commissioners of the District had demanded that Congress remain in session until the bill was passed, and House Speaker Sam Rayburn reluctantly did so, assuring that the bill passed. For some reason, the President, however, delayed in signing it because, says Mr. Pearson, of the backstage pressure by lobbyists, despite the Republican-appointed commissioners desiring it. He provides further detail of how that pressure was applied.
In the end, the President waited twelve days from the time the bill had completed passing the Congress before finally signing it, thirty-six hours before it would have been killed as a pocket veto.
Maybe he simply had more pressing matters down in Augusta, putting around on the eighteenth green.
The Congressional Quarterly tells of members of Congress having indicated that the candidates in 1956 would have to customize their campaigns for each region of the country, depending on the particular local issues of importance. Out of 286 responses from members asked to check off from a list of 50 issues those which would swing the 1956 congressional and presidential campaigns in their areas, only a few issues ranked high in all four regions of the country, the first of which was taxes and government economy, first in every region except the South, where it was second, farm price supports, prosperity and farm price supports, and employment, the latter two categories ranking in the top ten in each of the four regions.
Six issues were regional, ranked in the top ten in only one region each. The East chose immigration and refugees, as well as tariffs and trade, as the top campaign issues. The South chose states' rights and centralism, as well as soil conservation, among the top ten issues. The Midwest placed free enterprise and the Bricker treaty amendment on limitation of the treaty-making power by the President among the top ten. Each of the West's top ten were also among the top ten elsewhere. The East was the furthest from the national pattern in emphasizing welfare and labor issues as well as placing immigration and refugees as the third most popular issue. Only one foreign policy issue, tariffs and trade, made the top ten in that region. Some areas of the East depended on foreign trade while others were hurt by the competition from imports. Farm price supports, popular in other regions, ranked only tenth in the East, and power and water development also ranked below the national average. It proceeds to rank the top issues in that region by those which Democratic members listed as well as by those which Republicans listed.
The agricultural South voted heavily for farm price supports and soil conservation as the major issues, along with states' rights and centralism, which was twenty-first nationally but seventh regionally. It was the only region which had more than a fourth of its members placing racial civil rights among the important issues. It also proceeds to rank, for Democrats and Republicans separately, the top issues chosen in the South.
The Midwest listed the Bricker amendment as the greatest deviation from the national norm, ranking it seventh among the issues. Republican members voted more heavily than in other regions for farm price supports, many of them opposing the President's stand on that issue in 1954, when Congress had altered the fixed price supports in favor of a flexible price support system, consistent with the desires of Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson. It also lists the top issues, among Democrats and Republicans separately, chosen for that region.
In the West, both parties agreed that power and water development would make or break the 1956 candidates, just as it had in previous campaigns. The split on the Federal aid to build and improve schools was widely divergent, with 72 percent of Democrats and only 19 percent of Republicans choosing it as an important issue on the list.
Robert C. Ruark, still in Palamos, Spain, as indicated in the above brief editorial, finds that a lot of people had knocked Long Island, N.Y., for one reason or another but that the city of Westbury had just reaffirmed his faith in the place for having banned cats nocturnally, placing a curfew on them. Only dogs had been forbidden previously to run loose in the town at night, but now the mayor had sponsored a ban on cats at night as well, fixing a fine for violation at $25. Mr. Ruark indicates that how the guilty cats' owners would be determined was not his business.
He tells of his sympathies being with mice, that he would rather be a rat than a cat, as he regarded cats as having less personality than any other living creature, a "bigger bore, more selfish, and less useful" than any other four-footed animal. "It couldn't care less about its owner, and stays so splendidly aloof—unless you have on a blue suit—that you might as well not be in the room."
He also regards the "noisiest noise of the night time" to be a tomcat in the throes of "heavy love", whether or not there was a tabby around to satisfy its longings. If such was the case, there were two sets of noise, both loathsome, which the tomcat made, with Mr. Ruark contending that love could not actually be as painful as cats attempted to make it.
He goes on in that vein, speaking of cat cruelty, toward mice, digging its claws into one's flesh to show that it loved the person, and finding that even its purr was spurious, as "no sensible animal leaves his motor running." A cat never walked straight across the room but rather slinked, never took the owner into its confidence, was a bully and a "completely self-centered bore." It neither showed gratitude nor dumb affection, as did a dog.
He thus concludes with a "hooray for Westbury", and suggests that if it had trouble pinning the ownership of the cat in question, "shotgun shells are fairly cheap, whether you're aiming at the cat or the owner."
A letter writer asks, "Why do the Negroes always write that they 'merely want their rights?'" She finds that they were "just as free as the whites. They ride the same buses and trains, and I mean take all seats on the buses, and the bus company runs more buses for them than for the whites." She wonders why more of them did not migrate to the North if they wanted to go to school with white children, commenting that she had relatives in Philadelphia and "you never see a Negro where they live." She indicates her belief that blacks should have as good schools as whites and that they did in Charlotte, wondering why they believed it would help them to mix the schools and what they would do if private schools were established for all whites. She says that white people paid a lot more taxes and helped the "colored people more than any other state". She finds that most blacks did not want to mix in the schools, that it was just the NAACP and the leaders trying to force integration on them. She says that she had lived in Charlotte for 35 years and tried to live a Christian life, did not have any children going to school. "Why did the Lord make them colored? He doesn't expect us to marry and mix." She says that they did not treat the Indians nice or help them, that the American people had taken their land, but they did not bother the white people and just lived "to themselves". "So I don't see why we can't have it the same way America has lived for over 100 years."
Try harder to live a Christian life.
A letter writer from Atlanta says that he sincerely hoped that his friend, J. R. Dean of Lincolnton, would change his mind and run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1956, as "dog lovers and pet owners all over the South will be let down" if he did not. He says that Mr. Dean had friends all over Georgia and they had been looking forward to the next gubernatorial race in North Carolina with much interest. "Please, Mr. Dean, come on and run. You will win I feel sure."
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