Thursday, September 22, 2011

When they were all brave and good

I'm watching a live streaming inauguration ceremony for the incoming president of my University, Eric Kaler.  The faculty in all their robes and silly hats have just processed in to the stirring notes of a student orchestra.  Faces are appropriately solemn as the colorfully-robed assembly of dignified academics stand wait for the national anthem.  Three uniformed ROTC students carried in the flags - the nation, state, and University. 

It just occurs to me, seeing these academic faces, both of people I know and many I don't, that there's a point to this pomp and formality.  It can be a catalyst for endeavors beyond the call of duty - to service to what these individuals find to be their personal lodestone, conecting them back to the core of why they have entered into these careers, what they deeply care about.  And channeling that sort of engagement and commitment is like creating a laser beam.

We do so much need something to believe in and care about, something to bring us together for the common good, something to help ease us past our petty daily preoccupations.

May this day, and all of our institutional ceremonies (in this, our national civil religion), help bring out what is brave and good in us.

1 comment:

shoreacres said...

We do need ceremony. We do need a sense of tradition, of being connected to the past and joined with others who long for a better future.

We have got to stop tearing each other apart in this country. Every time a community like yours is able to pause and share an experience like this, I think it stops the unraveling.