(Host) About 12,000 people gathered on the Dartmouth Green in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Sunday morning for the graduation ceremonies of the class of 2005. Among the speakers and recipients of honorary degrees was Tom Brokaw, former anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News.
As part of our occasional feature “Word for Word,” this is an excerpt from that address. Brokaw encouraged the graduates to think about young men and women their own age, living in other parts of the world.
(Brokaw) “These young men and women are not incidental to the world that you are entering. They are the fastest growing population in a world already over-crowded, especially in that part of the globe where self-determination remains at best a work in progress. Or at best, a faint rumor or a distant promise.
“Many of them, as I know from my recent travels there again just this spring, love our culture and speak our language but we show, in their eyes, no interest in returning the favor. Too many of them love the idea of America but hate our government, envy our freedoms and deeply resent what they see as our sense of entitlement, our determination to tell them how to live their lives. The worst among them had to be punished and the fight goes on, but no army can conquer them all or force them to change.
“So as you leave here in pursuit of your dreams, try to imagine theirs. Stand tall. Don’t apologize for what you have or what you believe in, but get to know what they don’t have, and why.
“Take the lead in establishing a common ground between generations, a common ground of appreciation and understanding, a shared destiny of self-determination and economic opportunity – and racial equality.”
(Host) Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, speaking Sunday at Dartmouth College’s commencement ceremony.
VPR will broadcast Brokaw’s entire address to the Dartmouth Class of 2005, this Friday at one o’clock.