The memorable people for me represent that vast population of young and old of every hue and origin who gave up comforts and convention to answer their conscience, who are guided by their moral compass to difficult challenges and who are determined to make a difference. They lived in the real world and they took responsibility for it. They did not attach themselves simply to a virtual experience and find satisfaction in a search engine. They were boots on the ground, hands in the dirt, nights in scary places, healing and courageous. They stepped into the unknown and they made it more welcoming for the rest of us.
...These are difficult times. We are at war. And this war, as all wars are, is one freighted with mistakes and miscalculations, lethal consequences, highly charged emotions, defeats and successes. It is the debate in which we all have a say. I have a special place in my mind and in my heart for those who understand that patriotism is not a loyalty oath. I am never more proud to be an American than when a fellow citizen steps forward and says, "Can't we do better?"
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
From Tom Brokaw's commencement address to the Stanford class of 2006: