Friday, June 04, 2010

Land of hope and glory ...

Earlier this week, I observed the birthday of Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO and Master of the King’s Musick, born on June 2, 1857. I noted that his birthday coincides with that time of year when one of his works, Pomp and Circumstance March #1 (”Land of Hope and Glory”) is heard so much, in so many places.

It is a time when so many of us turn out in enthusiastic droves to congratulate young people (of ALL ages) as they cross the stage, accept a diploma and a handshake, shift the tassel from one side of their mortarboard to the other, and take their life’s next big step.

It IS a time of hope and glory.

I know, I know … there are some who will say it most certainly is not. For them, this is just another occasion for another rant about the terrible state of our country. Somewhere they’ll find an appropriate report - job prospects for this year’s graduates, or burdensome student loans - to assert their own view, and to cast blame upon someone for bringing us to our current state … the President, liberals or conservatives, the mainstream media, comet people from the outer nebulae, whatever.

There are some out there who seem to be following
Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood to use emotional and intellectual attacks on “the client," so the client will accept “the sight of human entrails as a revelation of Reality and his emotion at the sight of happy children or fair weather as mere sentiment.”

Me? I shall remain a sentimental fool. But it’s hard for me to be completely objective, really, working on the staff of a community college, and knowing first-hand what people and institutions are doing to improve educational resources - and employment opportunities - for all. Though the men and women who crossed our stage during commencement were not related to me, I still felt a sense of happiness and pride in their accomplishment … and in the knowledge that I played a part - admittedly, a tiny one - in that accomplishment.

At the reception, following the conferring of degrees and certificates, I move around among the graduates and their families, offering to take over on the camera so ‘Uncle Joe’ can get into the family picture, too. It is a time of smiles and laughter, of expanded horizons, open doors and new opportunities. Sure, there’s some work, some disappointment great or small in store for most of us at the reception … only a fool would believe otherwise. BUT NOW, we are better prepared to deal with it, learn from it and build upon it.

This IS a time, and we ARE a land, a nation of hope and glory!

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