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Ben Martin’s friendship will last my lifetime

By Sydney Sides

For the Salisbury Post

Ben Martin once told me the most interesting part of his career with Time Inc. was never knowing who he would meet next. This is precisely how our friendship came about during my sophomore year of high school.

I could never have imagined one of the biggest inspirations in my life and one of the best friendships I will ever have resulted from writing an article for the Salisbury Post.

As an intern at the Post, I decided to write about Martin, a native of Salisbury and a world-famous photographer. After digging through archives of articles by Rose Post on Ben, questioning anyone and everyone who knew him, and conducting a four-hour interview with him, I became irrevocably attached to his story.

His life is one that can never be replicated, and it is one that I will love unconditionally for the rest of my life.

Once the story had been published, Ben and I maintained a constant friendship. When I left the country for the first time in 2015, Ben surprised me with a new camera. It was not simply a gift of congratulations, but it was symbolic of our friendship and my dreams to travel the world.

When I returned, he had two of his most prized photos framed for me. One was of the Eiffel Tower — one of the places I visited while abroad. The other was of Venice, Italy — the one place I had always dreamed of going but was not able to visit.

He told me the photo of Paris was “where you have been” and the photo of Venice was “where you are going.” No matter what obstacles I faced, Ben always highlighted the bright side, never letting me forget the wonderful things that lay ahead.

Now Ben has passed away, and I wonder where he is out there. Is he talking politics with Fidel Castro? Or reminiscing with Marilyn Monroe? Wherever it may be, I hope he knows my heart is full of gratitude, love and remembrance for our friendship that will never fade.

I would like to encourage young students to seek out someone whose life you wish to emulat, and take every measure possible to learn everything you can from them. History can only die if it is forgotten.

Ben Martin will never be forgotten, and he will always be a part of my vision to find happiness. Ben, please look after me and everyone else whose lives you have touched. We love you.

Sydney Sides, a 2014 graduate of West Rowan High School, is now a junior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington majoring in international business and international studies.

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