Late spring in Maine brings new beginnings, including college and high school graduations. They are ceremonies of passage, leaving one place, one step in life, and leaping to the next.
America’s youths are worldlier and possess more technological aptitude than any generation before them, giving them tools to meet challenges unforeseen barely a decade ago. They have grown up in relative security with few of the health and societal issues that befell their grandparents’ generations — adults who witnessed the explosion of screens large and small, the arrival of the internet, plus the convenience of today’s unlimited travel and expanded health care capabilities. Our young people are in some ways less rooted locally because their world is larger.
People live longer today, and we are richer, with many more amenities and conveniences than two generations ago. There also is the wealth of perspective, of having seen more changes and experienced more of life’s difficulties and challenges. The lessons learned from them leave us with a firm appreciation of the advancements that science and medicine have enabled in our lives. Indeed, despite contrived acrimony and contentious political messages, we are living in the best of times.
We have seen history and watched as it so often repeats itself — both in content and characterizations — lessons our youths have yet to experience. It is our obligation to assure that they never forget how we got to the present and that we always strive neither to ignore nor repeat our previous mistakes. It is better to take a long view.
Our graduates today have broader horizons than ever before. They have confidence in what they know, a pride that sweeps aside concerns for the unknown. They have much to be proud of, as do the families that support them and the communities that one day will depend on their success. We congratulate them all and encourage each and every student to stretch the world we share.
America’s youths come of age every spring, every June. They say that sometimes the days seem long, yet the years pass by quickly. Seize the opportunity of life, graduates, and continue the tradition of making a positive impact for all.