"POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE" FOR ALL SEASONS

What an eventful occasion is about to occur: Graduation day in our area schools. It is now that memorable season of the year. Cap and gown, graduation speeches, friendly greetings along with "let's keep in touch" goodbyes. There are family get- to- gathers and friendship gatherings. All in all, it is quite an emotional event.

The musical selection of "Pomp and Circumstance" and this season of the year seems to go hand in hand. Hearing the majestic musical strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" on the occasion of a school’s graduation, makes an emotional impact on those assembled. And seeing the graduates as they process toward the culmination of one phase of their life and move stoically forward toward commencing into a new phase, sends a nostalgic emotional high to the viewing family members and other spectators. The memory of that event seems to stay with us for years to come.

We hear much these days that seem to suggest an era of societal doom and gloom.

Recently, I was privileged to interview a number of graduating seniors in one of our local high schools. Any thought of doom and gloom were soon dispelled. I saw a treasure of giftedness.

I am convinced that our future is in the best of hands!

This is my 61st consecutive year in which I participate as an educator in graduation ceremonies. And I am as excited now, as I was at the very first such commencement back in 1950. During these years, I have seen thousands of young men and women from all walks of life, walk across the platform to receive their diploma. And today, many of those graduates of the past are known for their extraordinary contributions they have made and are making to all of society.

Truly, how fortunate we are!

It never fails, as the new graduates are assembled and process at their commencement event, certain thoughts never fail to race through my mind. I am certain that this year 2011 will be no exception as each graduate is presented with the documentation of their accomplishment. Some of the thoughts that course through my mind go like this....

Some of the finest buildings, highways and bridges are yet to be built, you may design and build them. Some of the best farmers, plumbers, retailers, electricians, community service personnel, teachers, and clerical specialists are yet to be discovered, you may be one of them. Some of the most profound scientific and medical findings are yet to be discovered, you may discover them. Some of the most artful and profound thinkers, scholars, and communicators may come front and center, you may be one of them. Some of the greatest pictures are yet to be painted, you may paint them. Some of the finest prose and musical selections are yet to be written, you may write them. Some of the most dedicated and committed leaders in law, public policy and business may enter the scene; you may be one of those leaders. And, some of the most thoughtful and dedicated people of all time are yet to be identified, you may be one of them.

And, there is always a concluding thought that crosses my mind as the new graduate make their exodus from the assembled event. This thought seems to follow a certain pattern of hope and aspiration for each of the graduates...

Find your passion in life, being passionate about something provides one with a focus, satisfaction, energy and zest for accomplishment. Identify your passion, cultivate your interests, maintain against what appears to be overwhelming odds. Be strong in character and true to worthy principles. Life is a journey meant to be lived, not endured. Love the journey, and enjoy each step. Take pride in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. Savor the simple and marvel at the complicated. Live to benefit others and let your all encompassing aspirations of life be guided by your deepest inspiration. This is your graduation day but the majestic musical strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" lasts not only for today, but for a lifetime.

(Kevin Wysocki from Washington, D.C. contributed to the piece.)