There are notable men and women whom we honor with monuments. We name schools after them because they had a dream and a proposal; some are given credit for dramatic changes or victories.
Many of us though, like Thoreau’s “youth” start with big dreams and substantial efforts. When many years are spent and our grail unfulfilled, reflection is our assignment. Some, hear Churchill’s voice that ”success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”(3) It is now time to “pass the torch”(4) to our progeny and our students.
It is this next platoon of leaders which, we realize: our most important product is our progeny and our students.
Many of these remarkable people show signs of greater promise.
I do believe that not only is success not final, there are no final victories. I believe that when we think we have won, what we have won is the opportunity to enter the next, and greater, challenge. Even our great heroes have left problems behind them which require continuing efforts.
I think that in the final assessment, that our long grand plans and relentless efforts: “bridges, temples or woodsheds” are not completed structures, but a prayer… that those who follow us will have received a leg-up in their “bridges to the moon”. 30
(1) Faculty, Radiation Oncology & Biophysics, GWUMC. This is a revised edition of a post that I published in 2014
(2) Henry David Thoreau
(3) Winston Churchill
(4) John F. Kennedy