All of us here live our lives in plenitudes, even excesses, of significance. We serve our field, our art, our profession, our community, and our country importantly; we believe that we are important enough even to change the world, and in some ways we may be right. We flourish in the awareness of what is larger than ourselves, though it does not always leave us with the awareness that we are small. We are ceaselessly in motion, spinning up and out, mentally and physically; we roam the globe the way our ancestors roamed the town, or the hills just beyond the town. We deny distance and we revere speed, not least as proof that we may bend reality to our wishes and our needs; and we have taught ourselves to think swiftly, and also to feel swiftly. We are accustomed to celebrating ourselves, and to being celebrated, and what we accomplish in our various callings is often worthy of celebration. On our best days, we are moral, smart, purposeful, strong, glamorous, useful, and wide; influences on our history; patriots and cosmopolitans; public people, giving and gaining; the ornaments, and the trustees, of our traditions. This is our time.
I realize that not all of you find ridiculous pomposity as amusing as I do, but I’d like to think at least a few of you do.
I’m not 100% convinced this isn’t some kind of a spoof.