To the graduating class of 2020. You have been given multiple commencement speeches from multiple politicians, athletes, movie stars and song writers, well here is another one from me.
You were born into the storm of September 11, 2001. Although you were too young to remember, the world changed forever then. Air travel would never be the same, seeing a loved one off at the gate, or showing up 15 minutes before your flight. Security lines, armed guards and locked flight decks are something you have always experienced.
The current pandemic marred your last semester of your senior year. Prom, Spring Sports, Recitals, Musicals, Birthdays, Graduations and on and on, all cancelled or postponed. If that was not enough, a heinous hate crime occurred on your graduation day plunging the nation into chaos. It goes without saying that the class of 2020 has experienced the worst that history has to offer. I wish that I could make it up to you, but I hope, no, believe that your generation will succeed while mine has failed. To you all:
Be Brave. Bravery is not being fearless; it is being afraid; facing that fear; and doing what is right anyway.
Be Strong. Strength is not overcoming a crisis but standing firm in the wake of overwhelming opposition.
Be Courageous. Courage is not measured buy how one performs in victory but how one behaves in the face of sure defeat.
Be Empathetic. Empathy is not feeling sorry for someone, it is feeling the pain of someone and being willing to take on their pain yourself.
Be Humble. Humility is not quietly standing for nothing; humility is recognizing that you may not be completely correct and other opinions matter.
Be Considerate. Words can cut. Think before you speak. My generation never learned this lesson.
Be Inquiring. Do not accept the status quo, go out and change the world.
Have fun, take time to laugh, dance, sing, be alive and live in the moment. Have faith in yourself, you can move mountains; have hope that you will make a better tomorrow, and above all else love.
Stay sane and stay safe.