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WELCOME ADDRESS AND PRAYER By Steve Meyer & the Reunion Planning Committee 1968 CLASS REUNION June 2, 2018

Good evening classmates, friends, and distinguished guests and significant others!

The planning for this weekend’s events began over two years ago. Each meeting was like multiple mini-reunions and we celebrated each other’s friendship and commitment to all of you. We are thrilled and appreciative that so many of our classmates and invited guests are in attendance tonight. Our ultimate desire is that, everyone enjoys this weekend’s reunion events, and we especially hope you all feel the affection for each other that we felt serving on the Planning Committee.

“1968” The Year that changed America

1968 Arguably the most historic year in modern American history was a year of triumphs and tragedies, firsts and lasts, and political, racial, and gender conflict and unrest. In 1968 Congress repealed the gold standard, Intel, the huge technology semiconductor company was founded, 60 Minutes debuted on CBS, Boeing Aircraft introduced the 747 jumbo jets, and the Ivy League College Yale led the way and announced it was going to admit women. America also reached new heights in space exploration with the flight of Apollo 8 and its successful orbit of the moon. Unfortunately, all was not so well down on Earth.

We discovered that our words and actions matter!

When words and actions become weapons, relationships become casualties. 1968 began with the United States losing a Navy intelligence ship (USS Pueblo) to North Korea, followed by an unpopular escalating war in Vietnam, racial and anti-war protests, increased street violence, and the assassination of two admired Americans; Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. These were just a few of the events that were shaping our country and us as we prepared to be a part of it. At that time, the thought of being drafted into the service weighed heavily on the minds of every high school graduate.

As the war in Vietnam dragged on it painfully divided our nation.

It caused citizens to distrust our Government, It divided the younger generation from the establishment, and it caused military service people, who were putting their lives in jeopardy, to be in conflict with duty to country and the morality of war.  When Vietnam Veterans returned home they were for the most part unwelcomed and treated with dishonor.  Yet today, the American majority is genuinely grateful to all veterans and proclaims it when they say, “Thank you for your service.” This is just one example of how our generation uses words and grace to build relationships, offer encouragement, harmony, and restore honor.

 So we humbly ask our Lord: Lord, please guard our heart and our words today. May we speak only words that please You and bring health and healing to others.

Bill Crowder Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA.

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