Seasons: The Magazine of Samford University

Forging Another 'Greatest Generation'

When terrorists exploded their one-way ticket to eternity last September, they detonated a patriotic fervor unlike anything the U.S. has seen in my six decades. Flags on cars, shop windows, lapel pins, homes and bicycles have been more prevalent than ever--flower arrangements, jelly beans, cakes, cookies, gemstones, shirts, shorts, jackets, etc. People who never thought of demonstrating their love of country suddenly became flag wavers until flags were in short supply.

Grand as it is, I wonder if this is momentary, or can it be sustained? Could this nation take its patriotism seriously enough to realize that citizenship begins in a very local and continuing way, with each of us working to make our communities better, right where we are, and forging another "greatest generation"? Sure, we support our president. Certainly, we pray for our soldiers abroad. Of course, we believe in freedom and democracy. But what about our own communities, our own cities and states? Is our patriotism only national, vague and broad, or does it translate into concern for a state constitution, for high ethical principles among state and local elected officials, for righteousness and justice in civic affairs, fairness in taxation, and a demand for quality in the mandatory education of our children?

In the aftermath of 9/11, patriotism inspired millions of gifts to Red Cross, Salvation Army and a host of nongovernment helping organizations, tacit acknowledgment that government can never do it all. Even President Bush turned to the children of America, from whom he collected over $1.5 million to help the children of Afghanistan.

No one believes in leaving everything to the government.

Citizens have a role to play through nongovernment agencies as well.

Could that patriotism also extend to our dual system of higher education that is the envy of the world? It provides government-supported higher education but also permits individuals voluntarily to support nongovernment education. Samford has chosen to be an independent (nongovernment-supported) university so that it can advance the religious convictions it believes are important to this country and its future. That makes it a special place, but it can only exist if enough people desire it and volunteer to support it.

We can be thankful for the lesson bestowed upon us by true patriots over the years--people who wanted their communities to prosper and who were willing voluntarily to support their government AND nongovernment endeavors like Samford University. That dual system has made America the envy of the world, and that system is now entrusted to our stewardship.

To truly love one's country is to will the best, and do the best, for our country and for its people . . . right where we are.

Thomas E. Corts

Winter 2001
Vol. 18, No. 4

Carnegie Names Chew

'Quantum Leap' in Science

Alumni of the Year

Remembering Ruhama

Gray Takes Charge

About Samford People

Campus News

Estate Planning


Class Notes


In Memoriam



©2002 Samford University
Maintained by University Relations. Last updated: April 4, 2002