This Graduation Letter From The 1930’s Would Be Banned From Schools Today

Published on May 26, 2018

A yearbook from 1936 was discovered while cleaning an attic. The Graduation Address from that year will blow you away.

The man who discovered it, Hank Wallace, explained that he was sorting through his late mother’s estate when he came across it.

He gave a quick snapshot of what the world then looked like at the time before sharing the address itself.

In 1936, things were changing quickly. A picture of the principal of the school in the yearbook shows a black telephone on his desk, certainly a status symbol of the day. The Depression was wearing on, with New Deal socialism widely welcomed. Hitler was chancellor of Germany, and the Dachau concentration camp was open, both for over three years. Appeaser Neville Chamberlain was a year from becoming prime minister of the U.K. And while slavery was gone, “separate but equal” was in force, and racial division was the norm.
Source: American Thinker

And here is the speech he found inside.

My Dear Friends:

You are living now, not simply preparing to live. You can never turn back the page. The years will only provide opportunity to live more effectively. But the past can become inspiration, equipment and direction. The earth transmutes the foliage and flowers of the past into the beauty and fruit of the present.

I wish for each one of you the finest that can be achieved in life, and the largest service possible to your capacity.

Always be open to truth. Wherever you find it recognize it as the manifestation of God. There has never been, nor will there ever be, any conflict between science and religion. All come from the same heavenly Father. A child knows there is a difference between his father’s pencil and his watch, but never doubts that both belong to his father. Never be afraid of any truth.

Be sure you do more than seek truth. Find it. It is not the search for food that builds the body, but its assimilation. It is imperative that you believe some things so firmly that they become a part of you. Stability is rooted in integrity. Honor, virtue, courage and faith are eternal virtues, and without them your life will be a compromise.

I believe you have as fine qualities as ever gave surety to the hopes of any generation. You face the world at a period of arresting questions, difficult problems and a restless social order. Yet, it is a period of growth, holding before you the challenge whose terms demand your best.

Let that singing line from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King stay with you – “O Loyal to the royal in thyself.”

Sincerely your friend,

Richard S. Owens

It’s a far cry from the ‘Yolo’ references you’d see today, isn’t it?

Notice not just the high level of writing, and Richard’s use of literature and metaphor to deliver big ideas in small packages.

Notice also the grand ideas he is espousing.

Truth! Lay hold of it. Embrace it. Assimilate it.

Religion and science. Spoken of freely in their respective roles as reputable repositories of truth.

It’s a far cry from what we see today, when ‘that name’ must not be spoken, isn’t it?

The original article makes some other points beyond what can be covered here that are well worth reflecting on today. Points about greatness, about this being the generation that defeated Hitler and Tojo, points about history, virtue and achievement that would seem sorely out of place today.

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