We have thousands of high school seniors graduating from local high schools this weekend – public schools, private schools, homeschools, etc. This is a time of unprecedented hope for these young people and their families. This is a rite of passage, somewhat of an American tradition.
Some will go off to college or technical training to study for careers of their choosing. Some will study science and technology and seek to develop the newest innovation. Some will study medicine, nursing or healthcare and search for cures, treatments or rehabilitation regimens. Some will study art and produce paintings, writings, sculptures, film or photography. Some will study teaching, business, marketing or agriculture to refine and put to use their natural abilities.
Some will start careers right away. Some are entrepreneurs. Some are day laborers. Some will work in the family business while others strike out on their own.
Some will go directly into service. Some will heed the call of a life of spiritual vocation in seminary. Some will serve our country by joining one of the branches of our armed services and go through basic training before shipping out.
All have one thing in common – the shared experience graduating from the life they have known and growing into the next stage of their lives.
They also share this momentous occasion will a national holiday and solemn observance – Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is a day to, simply, remember American military personnel who have died in military service. We commemorate this day with barbecues, visits to military graves or monuments, and prayer and thanksgiving.
Whether in our own family or in those we are connected to, this is another American tradition. We have known or been touched by someone who gave everything to defend our country and our way of life. War across the history of this country has resulted in stories of personal loss but collective victory. That is the somber sentiment of Memorial Day.
But like graduation, this is a time of hope.
For hope is not just about desire and aspirations but about confidence and promise. It is not just the potential dreams and aspirations of the next generation but the faith that their expectations are built on the courage of those that came before them. It is longing that each generation carry on the successes of the generation before and learn from the mistakes of the past.
We can easily read these words and gloss over them. We urge you not to do so. We urge you to seek out the moments of hope that make milestone celebrations momentous, reflective observances insightful, and everyday life meaningful.
Let us consider the life of Sam B. Hay. While some may not know who Mr. Hay was, most were touched by him in one way or another. From agriculture in this community to school integration, from Presbyterian church life to community involvement, Mr. Hay lived a life that was full of hope. The hope of the future and the past. He sought change that was right and just while also celebrating history. He lived a life full of small moments of hope. And he instilled that in his family just as it was instilled in him. His fingerprints are all over this community and, likely, all over the lives of our readers. And for that we take pause and thank him for a life well-lived.
Let us strive for a life lived each day with hope. The kind of hope that is captured by the excitement of looking towards the future and by the reverence of learning from the past. This is the kind of hope that binds us together across generations, families, backgrounds, and differences.
It is the kind of hope that we, at The Covington News, have been telling you, our readers, about since the turn of the last century. And it is the kind of hope that continues to make our community an exceptional place.