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Friday Slide Show: The Class of 2020 Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

22 May 2020

You'll be glad to know we're not in the commencement address business. We don't give speeches at all, actually. Just little chats like this between us. That's all we indulge in. With your permission, of course.

And in that line, we can't help marvel at the Class of 2020. It has been called upon to do just what their year implies: peer at the future with 20/20 vision, a perspective that other graduates have been rarely called to exercise.

No proms, no parties, no ceremonies. But the occasion is not passing unmarked.

At the grammar school up the street from us, for example, the traditional drawing of the graduates' names in colorful chalks on the sidewalk has been replaced by huge banners with each graduate's portrait easily seen as their family drives them by.

The day we wandered by to photograph them (which is our way of congratulating them), there was an equipment failure. Battered by the wind, one of the plastic poles holding the banners broke.

Battered by the wind, one of the plastic poles holding the banners broke.

We were a bit dismayed but only for a heartbeat. As we lowered our camera, a fellow called to us from the open window above. "It will be fixed in a couple of minutes!" he promised.

We thanked him and told him we'd wait. And we did.

The whole section had to be lowered to the ground where a crew assembled to discuss what had to be done and then did it. It took a while but it worked. It's been flapping joyously in stronger wind for a week now.

Just a metaphor for the difficulties of the day, perhaps.

Every class launches itself from school into the unknown. But never has a class had to worry quite so much about what lays ahead.

No one knows. No one ever knows. But now we know there's some pretty nasty unresolved stuff in our future.

The coronavirus is just one problem. Our politics has never seemed more like a bot-ridden disease than it does now. And our economy of errors has pushed many of us beyond mere frustration to anger. Over and over again.

We all deserve better.

May the Class of 2020 keep it all in perspective and see it for what it is. A challenge.

And may they rise to meet it as they have met everything they've encountered this year. Not by bulldozing blindly ahead but, as our graduation banners in today's slide show demonstrate, by using your imagination.

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