It wasn’t your typical graduation speech.
There wasn’t any talk about this being the first day of the rest of your life, about the future opening up and anything being possible. Nothing about what you need to succeed in the work world.
Instead, Sen. Daniel Inouye (a democratic Senator from Hawaii) presented a keynote address at RIT’s convocation ceremony on May 20 that was personal and meaningful. It was a wise man sharing the knowledge of his years and his love of his country.
He spoke of Japanese Americans being forced into internment camps in WWII and the U.S. government’s subsequent apology many years later. He spoke of African Americans who served in the war donating the blood that saved his life. He spoke of Native Americans and their forced march along the Trail of Tears. He spoke of how America is one of the only countries in the world that would ever admit its wrongs and do something to correct them. That democracy isn’t the only way, but it’s a good path to be on.
He gave me chills.
He started his speech saying that he doesn’t remember who his convocation speaker was or what they said. After several years of listening to a different speaker each year, I can relate. But I’ll remember this one.
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