I never got to make a speech at either my high school or community college graduation. If I had, I think it might have sounded a little like this:
Professors, Guests and Fellow Graduates,
After doing a little research on the song we refer to in the U.S. as Pomp and Circumstance, I found out it's actually called Land of Hope and Glory. The music was written by Sir Edward Elger and lyrics~ yes there are words to the song~ by A.C. Benson for King Edward VII's coronation in 1902. Here are the lyrics:
Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee ?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set ;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
Even though this was written over a century ago, in Great Britain, I believe we can pull out some ideas for today. Here are a few I came up with.
1) Graduates in the United States do live in a land of hope and glory. My great grandparents came to this country in the hope of a better life than the one they left in the old country. As we have been celebrating graduations with my family over this last month, I know our young people still have a hope and are free to explore what our country has to offer.
2) With so many people being negative about these times we are living in, our graduates have the opportunity to make a difference. It's time for young people to be willing to have a strong work ethic, to study things that will benefit them not just monetarily, but in all aspects of life, and to stand up for what is right.
3) The opportunities for impacting the world has never been bigger. There are people all over the world who need help- from storm victims in Iowa and New Jersey to the poor in Africa and Asia. Our graduates can get involved at a local food bank or become part of Americorps or even go overseas as part of a team building houses or running a medical clinic.
4) Even though the last two lines of this song actually have to do with England when it was written, our graduates must realize the only way for them to become the people they are intended to be is by asking the Lord to guide and direct them. This will help them to become the men and women they were meant to be.
Thank you and may God bless you all.
I dedicate this to my son David, who will be graduating tonight with his Associate of Arts Transfer Degree from Chemeketa Community College. I am very proud of you, son, and I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for you as you transfer to Christendom this fall.