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Congratulations to this year's graduating class! Graduation is the culmination of 12 years of intense training. You have sacrificed and strained in your struggle to achieve the building of your educational foundation. Graduation is a celebration of achievement for all of the participants in the process. It marks the completion of a process and a new beginning. Graduation is also a milestone in the transition from childhood to young adult, and with this transition comes new opportunities and challenges.
I find it interesting that as we appropriately honor our graduates at this time of year, the relationships between parents and family are also appropriately remembered within the same few weeks in our calendar.
We have honored Motherhood in recent weeks. It is fitting that we honor Motherhood before we celebrate your achievement because without those who have taken Motherhood seriously there would be far fewer receiving the guidance and encouragement so necessary to achieve such long range and significant goals.
Soon we will have the opportunity of honoring Fatherhood. We cherish memories of a loving leader, mentor and friend. His approval brought a sense of confidence in our achievements. He was the gatekeeper between us and the larger, fearful outside world. His strong arms gave us a sense of security and protection from the unknown. He provided for our needs and many of our wishes. We wondered at his ability to find the things that encouraged us to dream and see so much more than our limited view could allow. His success was and remains in us.
We have also memorialized those who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our way of life. Who has not been touched by scenes of mothers, fathers and families standing thoughtfully by graves in tearful memory of joys once shared, dreams once hoped that for now must remain unrealized. It is also fitting to ask ourselves the question that was most surely asked by those who gave their lives, ``Will you who follow after me live your lives in a way to be worth of such sacrifice?''
These days of remembrance and celebration are also a time for thoughtful reflection. Our lives are not wholly our own. We are a part of something so much greater than me and mine, here and now. We owe so much to all who have gone before us. How important it is that we not only honor that legacy, as you who graduate do, but it is equally important that we rise to the full stature of the nobility of which we individually are capable. As we do, that legacy continues for all who follow.
Britt Gibson is the public affairs director for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Juneau.