WPCNR NEWS & COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. June 21, 2022:
Good morning from White Plains New York USA where it’s 59 wpcnr degrees.
Yesterday school maintenance workers were setting up the long rows of white chairs on beautiful Loucks Field in preparation for the middle school and high school graduations this week.
The perfect rows of over 550 seats shown spectacularly in late afternoon sun. Just as the graduates hold the future of this country and the hope it has held aloft to the world for the last 246 years.
It crosses my mind that in our town and towns big and small across the land this week perhaps today’s graduates are the most important graduates in many years. Arguably, they are one of the toughest classes of graduates in a long time.
As Pomp and Circumstance, the march that opens every graduation, starts I hope this graduation will send a different message deliver a different theme not of pursuing dreams and success and you can do everything. This week’s speakers need to give them a mission like no other.
The graduates have come through three years of at-home remote learning, the isolation of not seeing their friends, the alienation of mask-wearing and negative vibes from persons not wearing masks and persons wearing them feel towards each other.
They have not been able to enjoy class learning in the traditional way socially distanced in class rooms. Imagine not being able to pass notes in class – not being able to sit next to your friends in study hall trying to crack up your old buddy Chuck Cannizzaro—a great old friend of mine –with jokes to get him thrown out of study hall – singing songs in the hall… and of course seeing a teacher with a mask on… that was not the typical school experience.
One student at a recent library event described this was were first year back in high school and how traumatic it was getting reacquainted in a real high school environment for the first time. These graduates of 2022 have had to be tougher then the millions of graduates before them. and they face a big challenge in the state of this county, state and every state in this country all at odds with one another..
I cannot stress how important it is that the graduation addresses of the Valedictorians and student leaders and academic speech makers be different. The well-wishes and laudatories should address the need these graduates have to be coached to a different level of qualities as they head into colleges, jobs in the community and a cruel environment their wages cannot handle.
The message need to deliver not just the need to do well and follow their dreams. (For many their dreams are harder than ever to achieve.)
The sages on the stage need to raise the level of challenge: emphasize to the Classes of 2022 to spread the message of respect for working together with one another to heal and advance the legacy america has in world history.
This nation saved the world three times in the last century with the blood of graduates no older than those graduating this week.
This nation found a vaccine for the greatest plague since the Black Death and the influenza of 1918. Discovered the polio vaccine. The smallpox vaccine. Revolutionized medicine. Advanced communications exponentially to bring the world closer together, and sadly provided the means to tear the world apart.
Today’s messages to graduates and the hearts of parents in the stands I hope will find the inspiration and realism to lay out the path for these graduates who must follow for the sake of lives throughout the world and have the courage to follow — a path of respect, doing what is right in the eyes of God that Voice in your Head you always hear that always shows you what to do, and tells you when you are doing wrong.
If the graduates do not hear that message the mission they have: bringing not the attitude of selfishness and person success but being big brave responsible persons very very quickly to bring healing, health hope and direction to make us all united and respectful of one another as Americans first together.
The Graduates of 2022 have a huge burden on their shoulders.
They are the last hope as are the Graduates of 2023, 2024, 2025 and beyond.
Looking at the past, but learning from it.
Building back the nation one person at a time until America the Beautiful is Beautiful once more.
E pluribus unum
OUT OF ONE, MANY.
And when they have finished their never-ending mission to build us back one person at a time they can look back with pride.
One significant effect of Pomp and Circumstance is its sound of always marching foreward as its strains wash across the field, filling parrents with tears and the sounds of their children leaving them taking new steps without them, hoping for the best, but worrying, always worrying about them. Will they be happy? Will they do better than I have?
For the graduates, the cadence and relentless crescendos and refrains of Pomp and Circumstance beckon and present the challenge of the unknown life ahead, intimidating and commending just the same.
These graduates of 2022 if the messages are right will know what their mission is in their behavior, their challenges and know what must be done. Kids always see the truth.
If the new generation of graduates succeeds, there will be a different nastalgia, a looking back that will be filled with pride and new hope and achievement.
As we salute the graduates and bade you our prayers we know you have to do the job we have failed to do.
Please pick up the pieces for us. When they do, the graduates of today and future will look back at the job they did with a melancholy and a sense of achievement
Chuck Berry captured this melancholy in his record Oh Baby Doll.
Oh baby doll, when bells ring out the summer free
Oh baby doll, will it end for you and me?
We’ll sing the old alma mater
And think of things that used to be