Turn out the lights . . . And Tomorrow starts: Happy New Year

In honor of the year just past, I'll quote Dandy Don Meredith (who died this past year).  Back when I was growing up and then going to college, Dandy Don would close every Monday Night Football telecast, which we would watch religiously to catch Howard and Don do their thing, with a verse from a Willie Nelson song:

Turn out the lights
The party's over
They say that
All good things must end
Call it tonight
The party's over
And tomorrow starts
The same old thing again

We have turned out the lights on 2010, for good or for ill, what was is over and done with, and now tomorrow starts.  Hopefully, though, we'll not do the same old thing again!  But in the spirit of Dandy Don, who always knew that next week, another game would be played, we look forward to a new year, hopeful for what it will bring, knowing that for good things to happen we'll have to commit ourselves to that end. 

As we we look forward to 2011, it might be worth pausing to consider some of the important historical moments that we will mark.

  • The 400th anniversary of the publication of the Authorized Version of the Bible, better known to most people as the King James Version.  It should be honored, not because it is the best or most reliable translation, which it isn't, but for the impact it has made on the English language.  (1611)
  • Then there is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the nearly five year ordeal called the Civil War, a war that was sparked by the recognition that a nation could not remain united half free, half slave.  The beginning of the process started January 9th, when five states seceded, and shots were fired on a US Naval vessel supplying Fort Sumter. (1961)
  • The 70th Anniversary of Pear Harbor, the attack on the Naval Base in Hawaii that finally drew the United States into World War II.  This number reminds us that the so-called Greatest Generation that made such a mark on American life is quickly fading into history.  The youngest sailors at Pearl would now be in their late 80s. (1941)
  • We will observe the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps by John F. Kennedy (1961)
  • The 25th Anniversary of the first public IPO of Microsoft, an event that marks the true beginning of the computer age as we know it as the general public (1986).
  • This fall we will mark the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist event we know as 9-11.  I remember at the time making the statement that the world as we know it no longer exists.  I wonder if I was correct?  What difference has this event made on our lives?  Are things better or worse?  This will be an important conversation to undertake this coming year, especially as we move toward the creation of special observances of that day.  (2001) 
It is a New Year.  It offers opportunities to do new things.  What will we make of the year ahead?


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