I turned on the news this morning and listened with great interest as reporters updated the country on the record heat wave that has crippled some of us, the unbelievable wildfires leveling neighborhoods out west, the security updates that involve the Summer Olympic games, along with the standard daily newsflash as to the latest scandal between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I… can’t help but feel that the news always sounds so bleak lately, which leads me to wonder about our future. Then I start to reflect on the past, wondering about the national crises and events that have shaped our country’s history. Were things so very different back then? I can’t help but wonder.
We come from a tradition of great, and sometimes very outspoken people, who made constant sacrifices, of all sorts, for our country. Our greatest leaders went out on the tiniest of limbs for us, undertaking merciless ridicule for their non-conformist thoughts and radical sounding plans (ending slavery, giving equal rights to women, going to war, birth control). Sometimes, these people just had the tiniest spark of something new and exciting keeping them awake at night (microwave ovens, putting a man on the moon, tunneling through a mountain), yet they knew it would change mankind forever. I can imagine them uttering the first little whispers of a possible change to their spouse one evening, looking for guidance on transforming some small, labor-intensive task into industrial changes that would improve everything we did. Men and women, rich and poor, young and old, alike, all broke with the traditional “molds” that were established in their times, never caring what the nay-sayers thought, because they knew they were forging a path for change and innovation.
Today, I want to salute those individuals who didn’t stay silent when others wanted them to, or who didn’t shut off their creativity switch when negative people told them, “You are going in the wrong direction, loser!” or “It’ll cost too damn much to build that!” My family thanks you for all you did, and I hope to one day have just a snippet of your innovation, creativity, ability to communicate, and some of that bravery!