Sunday, January 27, 2013



I stand here tonight as one of the twenty thousand or so  graduates of Dublin High School and it’s predecessor schools of Oconee High School and Washington Street High School.   Thirty three years ago, I sat where you sit now.

The four short years you have just completed will prepare you for the world you now enter.  The lessons you have learned in this school and at home will help to get you through the bad times and only make the good times that much better.

I have a passion for writing about heroes.  Each week I write stories about those who have gone before us.  You are the heroes of our future.  It is now up to you to carry the torch that others have carried before you.    You are our legacy, our opus, our dreams.

Just think kids from Dublin schools, kids just like you:

Have helped men to travel to the moon and have helped old an woman up a mountainous flight of stairs.

Have danced on Broadway and taken their daughters to hundreds and hundreds of dance lessons.

We have played in the Super Bowl and we have coached our son’s midget league football teams.

We have played in the Masters Golf Tournament and toiled in the factory to make the Green Jackets of the Masters Champions.

There were two of us who gave their  lives on the rocky shores of Iwo Jima and thousands of us who held our children all night when they are sick.

We have painted magnificent works of art and painted our neighbor’s house for free.

We have been champions of our state and country  and championed the causes of those who can’t fight for themselves.

Several of us have written the news for the country’s greatest newspapers and too many of us have been the one to tell parent’s the news that their child was killed in a car wreck.

One of us became  the youngest female lawyer in the history of Georgia and another the first woman to be certified as a surgeon in the Northeastern United States.

We have been All Americans in football, baseball, basketball and wrestling and we have given our all for America on the jungles of Vietnam and the deserts of the Middle East.

One of us has been saluted as one of the greatest African-American inventors of the 20th Century and nearly all of us have stayed up half of the night helping our kids finish their science projects which are due the next day.

We have won silver star medals for heroism and have done heroic acts with no recognition sought or given.

Several of us have been at the top of university classes and thousands of us  have taught thousands small children how to read.

We have been admirals and generals, and we have marched through the mud and snow of bitter winters of World War II.

One of us has been a Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and many  have defended those who couldn’t defend themselves.

We have been prisoners of war and many of us have kept the bad guys off the street so we can sleep at night and play on the playgrounds.

We have been among the top musicians in the country and have sung in the church choir for fifty years.

One of our teachers and our mothers  has been among the first women to be drafted in the first National Women’s Basketball League and many of our mothers  have cooked a hundreds and even thousands of  cupcakes to raise money for the PTA.

We have been the marshal of the District of Columbia and gathered on the National Mall to seek the freedoms of all Americans.

One of us has pitched in the major leagues and the luckiest of us has pitched a wiffle ball to our kids in the back yard.

We have built beds and sat by those same beds where our parents died.

Several of us have been honored in Halls of Fame and many of us have walked the halls of hospitals in anticipation of the birth of our first born.

We have been the first African-American woman vice president of CBS radio and transmitted radio messages in times of civil disasters.

We have jumped out an airplane in the pre dawn hours of the invasion of Normandy and we have jumped for joy when our child got their  first hit in tee ball.

We have been Speaker pro tem of the Georgia legislature and have spoken to thousands of the principles of faith, hope and love.

We have served on some of the state’s and nations most important boards and we have served food to the hungry when no one else would.

These of the just some of the things you can do. Your parents and your teachers have given you all the tools.  Now, it’s  up to you.   Failure is not an option.   Generations for centuries to come will be affected by what you accomplish in the next half century.

Do what you love to do in life and do it with a passion, but at all times love your family, love your neighbors, love your community and love your nation.

We are all put on this Earth for a purpose and that purpose is to build and not to destroy,  said the comedian Red Skelton.  The great baseball player Roberto Clemente always said “anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world, and you don’t, you are wasting your time on Earth.

Perhaps the most succinct graduation address came from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.  On a very hot day and after many congratulatory remarks, Churchill rose to speak and told the graduates, “ Gentlemen, life is tough, but never ever give up.”

I am a child of what has been called the “Greatest Generation.”  My challenge to you tonight is to make us, your parents, the parents of the true “Greatest Generation” and make yourselves the parents of an even greater generation.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2007!  Thank you for allowing me to be your baseball coach, your school board member, your band booster president and most of all, thank you for letting me  be your friend.

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