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Monday, January 07, 2019

DENNIS PATRICK: TIME - AND CHANGE - WAIT FOR NO ONE

Another year gone by and with it the hours and days of 2018 have passed forever. A new year dawns and with it comes another chance to redeem our time in 2019.

Mom used to advise not to wish time away. Our days are numbered and will soon be complete. The end of time will come soon enough for every person. Wishing away time is poor stewardship of a valuable resource.

Horace Mann expressed the passage of time eloquently this way. “Lost yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.”

Let the pundits recap the year. We can gain a better feel for the magnitude and speed of change by viewing the past fifty (1969) or one hundred (1919) years in context. Change and the passage of time go hand-in-hand. Examples of events become points of reference measuring the tempo of our lives.

By 1919, World War I had concluded and the reign of Communism had begun.

In 1919, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes formulated a “clear and present danger” test for defining conditions under which the constitutional right of freedom of speech may be abridged.

The same year the House of Representatives unseated Wisconsin socialist congressman Victor Berger November 10. Berger’s district re-elected him in December, but the House declared his seat vacant in January. (Reader take note.)

Both F. W. Woolworth and Andrew Carnegie passed away in 1919. Albert Einstein’s 1905 theory of relativity was confirmed by English astronomer Arthur Eddington. The General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC) was founded by GM. UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) opened its doors. RCA (Radio Corporation of America) was founded. Dial telephones were introduced by AT&T.

Non-fiction: John Reed who witnessed the October 1917 revolution in Russia pens “Ten Days That Shook the World.” Later he organized and led the US Communist Labor party.

Sports: Jack Dempsey won the world heavyweight boxing championship July 4 by a third round knockout. Horse racing had its first Triple Crown winner in Sir Barton and would not be repeated again until 1930. The Cincinnati Reds won the World Series defeating the Chicago White Sox 5 games to three. The Green Bay Packers football team was founded as a professional team.

Move ahead fifty years to 1969. Tremendous change occurred during that 50-year interval including the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the civil rights movement, and the beginning of the Vietnam War.

During 1969 North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh died September 3 at 79. On July 21 US astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface from the Apollo 11 lunar lander. Many people still believe the moonwalk was staged in a studio to divert attention from the Vietnam War.

The body of Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, is retrieved July 19 from Poucha Pond on Chappaquiddick Island off Martha’s Vineyard. Hours earlier she left a party with Senator Edward Kennedy (married to Joan Kennedy). The Senator drove his 1967 Oldsmobile sedan off the bridge leaving Kopechne to drown in 8 feet of water.

Top films include “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Easy Rider.”

Top songs include “Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan, “Get Back” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “Oh Happy Days” by Edwin Hawkins, and “Come Saturday Morning” by Dory Previn.

Hurricane Camille struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast August 17 and continued up through Virginia and West Virginia leaving 248 dead and $1.5 billion in property damage.

For many people these historical instances become points of reference by which change and the passage of time are measured. For others there is a more salient point of reference providing consistency and continuity in a topsy-turvy world. This Christmas Season these people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the meaning He brings to their lives. I am one of those. In a world turned upside down, He offers stability, sanity, and restoration from the inside out. He did yesterday, He does today, and He will in 2019.

Here is wishing the very best to each and all in 2019!

 

Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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