Friday, May 8, 2020

From the 2002 Commencement Speech at Dartmouth College. This is dedicated to all graduating seniors everywhere and especially to my niece Amanda senior Duke University Durham North Carolina. *
“…I’d like to give you all an invisible gift. A gift of a silent minute to think about those who have helped you become who you are today. Some of them may be here right now. Some may be far away. Some, like my astronomy professor, may even be in Heaven. But wherever they are, if they’ve loved you, and encouraged you, and wanted what was best in life for you, they’re right inside your self. And I feel that you deserve quiet time, on this special occasion, to devote some thought to them. So, let’s just take a minute, in honor of those that have cared about us all along the way. One silent minute.
Whomever you’ve been thinking about, imagine how grateful they must be, that during your silent times, you remember how important they are to you. It’s not the honors and the prizes, and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted. That we never have to fear the truth. That the bedrock of our lives, from which we make our choices, is very good stuff….
…Whether old or new, I hope that you remember, even when you're feeling blue, that it’s you I like. It’s you, yourself, it’s you. It’s you I like.”
And what that ultimately means, of course, is that you don't ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you. When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see, or hear, or touch. That deep part of you, that allows you to stand for those things, without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate. Peace that rises triumphant over war. And justice that proves more powerful than greed.
So, in all that you do in all of your life, I wish you the strength and the grace to make those choices which will allow you and your neighbor to become the best of whoever you are. Congratulations to you all.”
“Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not.”- Mr. Fred Rogers
*This weekend was the time that our family was supposed to gather to celebrate my niece, Amanda graduation from Duke University in Durham North Carolina. By this time, had everything gone right, her parents Mary and Rocky  along with so many aunts, uncles and cousins including Mike, Aria, Daniele and Sofia would have all joyously been reunited to watch proudly as Amanda walked across stage dressed in her cap and gown to receive her diploma. As with many other graduates across the world this ceremony will not happen. Still though we want to say to all the graduates (and for me especially to Amanda) that we are with you. We celebrate this moment in time and we celebrate all that you have accomplished. There will be time ahead for everyone to gather with their loved ones to celebrate together. Congratulations Seniors Class of 2020!

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